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Tim Brooks (born April 18, 1942) is an American television and radio historian, author and retired television executive.[1] He is credited with having helped launch the Sci Fi Channel in 1992 as well as other USA Network projects and channels.[2][3]

Tim Brooks
Tim Brooks 2012.jpg
Born (1942-04-18) April 18, 1942 (age 77)
OccupationBusiness executive,
historian, writer
Alma materDartmouth College 1964,
Syracuse University 1969
SubjectTelevision, radio, recording industry
Notable worksThe Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows

He also served as a research executive for NBC, the N.W. Ayer advertising agency, and Lifetime Television, and as board chairman of industry organizations the Advertising Research Foundation and the Media Rating Council, among others.[4]

He is the author or co-author of eight books about the history of media in the U.S., including television, radio, and the recording industry. He has also been active in urging reform of copyright laws regarding historical recordings, testifying at U.S. Copyright Office hearings in 2011[5][6] and chairing the Historical Recording Coalition for Access and Preservation.[7] He was twice elected president of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (serving 1982-84 and 2012-14) and has been chair of its Copyright and Fair Use Committee since 2003.[8]

Comments made by Brooks regarding the Sci Fi Channel's name being changed in 2009 to Syfy[3] led network president Dave Howe to publicly distance himself and his network from Brooks' comments.[9]


  • Lifetime Achievement Award from the Advertising Research Foundation in 2008.
  • Society for American Music Irving Lowens Award for Distinguished Scholarship in American Music, for Lost Sounds, 2006.[10]
  • ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for Lost Sounds, 2005.[11]
  • Association for Recorded Sound Collections Award for Excellence for Lost Sounds, 2005.[12]
  • Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Recorded Sound Collections in 2004.[2]
  • Association for Recorded Sound Collections Award for Excellence for The Columbia Master Book Discography, 2000.[13]

The Complete Directory by Brooks and Marsh won a 1980 U.S. National Book Award in the one-year category General Reference (paperback).[14][a]

Brooks was a member of the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors from 2007 to 2013.[15]


  • The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present (1979), by Brooks and Earle Marsh
  • Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry, published in 2004 with a related double-CD by the same name which won a Grammy Award in 2007.[2]
  • College Radio Days (2013).
  • Little Wonder Records and Bubble Books, with Merle Sprinzen (2011).
  • Survey of Reissues of U.S. Recordings, for the Council on Library and Information Resources and the Library of Congress (2005).[16]
  • The Columbia Master Book Discography, 1901-1934, with Brian Rust (1999).
  • The Complete Directory to Prime Time TV Stars (1987).


  1. ^ From 1980 to 1983 in National Book Award history there were dual awards for hardcover and paperback books in many categories. Most of the paperback award-winners were reprints but this one was new.


  1. ^ Michael Schneider (May 22, 2007). "Tim Brooks to exit Lifetime: Exec will focus on TV tome". Variety. "Brooks will exit Lifetime Networks at the end of the year, capping a 30-year career as a television research exec. He has been with Lifetime since 2000, most recently serving as executive VP of research."
  2. ^ a b c "Tim Brooks". National Cable & Telecommunications Association. 2009. "Tim Brooks retired at the end of 2007 as Executive Vice President of Research for Lifetime Television. ... was Senior Vice President, Research for USA Networks, ... While there he helped structure the programming plan for the launch of the Sci-Fi Channel in 1992 ... Regarded as one of television's leading historians, Brooks has had a parallel career as a writer on television and record industry history."
  3. ^ a b Jon Lafayette (March 15, 2009). "Sci Fi Channel Aims to Shed Geeky Image With New Name". TVWeek. "The name Sci Fi has been associated with geeks and dysfunctional, antisocial boys in their basements with video games and stuff like that, as opposed to the general public and the female audience in particular," said TV historian Tim Brooks, who helped launch Sci Fi Channel when he worked at USA Network."
  4. ^ Paula Bernstein, “USA Networks Vet Brooks Will Ankle,” Daily Variety, Nov. 9, 1999; Jim Forkan, “Research Chief Brooks Leaves USA,” Multichannel News, Nov. 15, 1999. Paula Bernstein, “Lifetime Channels Brooks,” Daily Variety, Jan. 12, 2000.
  5. ^ "A Study on the Desirability of and Means for Bringing Sound Recordings Fixed Before February 15, 1972, Under Federal Jurisdiction".
  6. ^ ”A Major Copyright Victory,” ARSC Newsletter, No. 148 (Fall/Winter 2018), 1.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "ARSC Officers and Committee Chairs" (PDF).
  9. ^ SCI FI Wire Staff (March 20, 2009). "SCI FI president Dave Howe answers your Syfy questions". Sci Fi Wire. "We didn't say this! This was a quote by a TV historian named Tim Brooks, speaking to TV Week, which has been mistakenly attributed to us by some people."
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  14. ^ "National Book Awards – 1980". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-03-08.
  15. ^ "George Foster Peabody Awards Board Members". Retrieved July 18, 2017.
  16. ^

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