Rhonda Fabian was a photojournalist and freelance producer from New Orleans. She documented jazz and community traditions and achieved Press Club recognition for work about the desegregation of Louisiana.
Jerry Baber was a former high school teacher and basketball coach from Ohio. A community organizer, he co-founded Brandt Commission Research to bring Willy Brandt’s messages of North-South disparity to wider audiences. That led to a master’s degree at Kent State in political campaign management.
The moment they met at the Annenberg School for Communication, Rhonda and Jerry started talking about education and media, and they talked themselves right into a partnership! Early outings included a project for SwissTV on US politics ; an AT&T study about technology and personal privacy; and a series on legal ethics for PennLaw.
The partners incorporated as Fabian Baber Communication in 1990 and opened offices in a major soundstage and post-production complex in Delaware County. It was the heyday of studio commercials and daytime cable shows. Fabian Baber began producing kids shows in the studios and educational documentaries on the road, many for Library Video Company. In the nineties, the two companies created hundreds of titles, establishing Fabian Baber as leading creators of K12 content in the US at that time. They were determined that educational programs be more progressive, inclusive, and broadcast quality. The 22-part series, Black Americans of Achievement achieved industry awards and accolades, and was essential viewing in many public schools.
In 2000, the focus shifted to skills-based instruction and critical thinking programs for adults in tech, trades and professions. In collaboration with major textbook publishers, the company’s talented staff created countless titles for medical professionals, as well as EMTs, law enforcement, teachers, managers, automotive technicians, therapists, estheticians and paralegals. It’s a source of great pride that millions of students, especially low-income adults, used Fabian Baber videos to build skills and achieve their dreams.
Simultaneously, the company supported universities and publishers eager to explore new technologies. They pioneered mobile apps as official Apple developers, created innovative media for homeschoolers, received an Emmy nomination for the broadband series Icons of Science with Discovery Communication, and entered the online learning field before it even had a name.
Video production required a lot of time on the road. From the shores of Newfoundland to the Iberian Peninsula, at famous stops on the Underground Railroad, on Wharton assignment to Jakarta, Tokyo and Milan, and in dozens of US cities and towns, the veteran production crews wrapped hundreds of shoots on budget and on time.
Today, the company has a new name – Immediacy – but nothing has really changed. Same great staff and crews. Same mission. Same focus on the learner. Home is the small, thriving and aptly-named town of Media, located in Delaware County, Pennsylvania right where the company started 28 years ago.
The filmmaker and the school teacher? They never stopped talking. Just ask their two grown kids and talented, patient staff.