CLASS OF 2007
Rolland (Rollie) Clair Johnson was Chairman and CEO of Three Eagles Communications, which he founded in 1995, and its various subsidiaries. The company once owned approximately 60 radio stations in small-to-medium markets in the Midwest, as well as FarmNet, a nationally syndicated agricultural news service.
A Nebraskan, Rolland grew up on a working ranch northeast of O’Neill and took a part-time announcing job at nearby KBRX in 1961. His higher education saw him earn a degree in broadcast journalism and an MBA in marketing and management from the University of Missouri and a Ph.D. in mass communications from Ohio University.
Rolland started public radio and television stations in Brookings, South Dakota. Two years later he began studying for his doctoral degree at Indiana University, where he spent the next 13 years as a tenured professor and chairman of the Department of Telecommunications.
By 1978 as a savvy businessman, Rolland began buying stations. He started Duchossois Communications in 1978 and was the founder, general manager, president, and CEO of Indiana Communications Company, which, together with Duchossois, developed, owned, and operated 15 radio and television stations from 1978 to 1994.
Johnson moved to Monument, Colorado in 1994 after selling Duchossois Communications and began Three Eagles from his home with no local employees. Three Eagles started out with the purchase of eleven Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota stations. Before long the company owned stations in Lincoln, Columbus, and Central City, along with nearly thirty others in the Midwest.
Nationally, Johnson was involved in community service with the National Association of Broadcasters and the Radio Advertising Bureau. He was selected into the Ohio Communication Hall of Fame in 2003.
Three Eagles owned 48 stations in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota when sold to Digity in 2015.