From missiles to music. From the iron curtain to the red carpet.” Bill Roedy says he has finally “coined” his unconventional career as he exits MTV after spending three decades masterminding the music channel’s global expansion.
The outgoing president of Viacom’s MTV Networks International, began his working life as a platoon leader in Vietnam – having studied at US military academy West Point. He later became a NATO missile commander.
“One of the first issues I had to deal [in Vietnam] with was a firebase overrun by a chemical attack. A US soldier had taken a drug overdose. I didn’t know what it was, I wasn’t trained for that. I called the medic back in and I was scalded the next day for jeopardising a helicopter crew who told me this was the norm.”
From this harrowing insight into the state of morale in Vietnam in the 1970s, to discuss his exit from the global business he built, Roedy appears almost emotionless.
Forty years on and he has kept the soldier-like qualities he probably acquired to survive in an environment where death and destruction are pervasive.
Originally published June 9, 2017
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