Awards Lunch Fit for a 'Giant'

Several broadcast giants were feted October 16 at the Giants of Broadcasting luncheon in New York, which is hosted by the Library of American Broadcasting. That includes David Barrett, Hearst Corp. director and former president and CEO of Hearst Television. Barrett said he’d come a long way since selling rock ‘n roll air time on radio to “head shops, motorcycle shops and record shops,” and called the Giants distinction “a great honor that I’m very proud to accept on behalf of my colleagues at Hearst Corp.”

Barrett also turned the spotlight on Don West, chairman of Giants of Broadcasting and Electronic Arts, whom he called “a giant himself.”

Another local broadcaster earning Giant status on the day was Chuck Scarborough, veteran New York anchor. Several of his WNBC colleagues, including GM Michael Jack and anchors Shiba Russell and Bruce Beck, were there to witness Scarborough’s induction. Scarborough told a gastro-intestinal-related yarn from his early days working with fellow Giant inductee Judy Woodruff at WAGA Atlanta, and said broadcasters are going through a golden age of media. “We’ve never been better equipped to do television news,” he said, while acknowledging that the competition has never been greater.

Media outlets can stand out from the morass by sticking to their principles, said Scarborough.  “There’s always a market for reliable, timely and trustworthy, well written, well produced information,” he said.

Scarborough also suggested that newsrooms strive for ideological diversity—not just diversity in terms of color and gender, but in political bent.

In his own speech, Fred Silverman, former NBC president, too acknowledged the golden era of television, and said local TV in particular was in a great position to thrive. Syndicated programming is in rough shape, he opined, and station groups—armed with retrans cash—are well equipped to create local entertainment shows, which he called “the next logical move” stemming from their successful news ventures.  

“There really is much we have to look forward to in this decade,” Silverman said, “and beyond.”

The other inductees were Pablo Raul Alarcon Sr., Raul Alarcon Jr., Gwen Ifill, Regis Philbin, Peter Smyth, Virginia Pate Wetter, Judy Woodruff and Sylvester Weaver.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone is content director at B+C and Multichannel News. He joined B+C in 2005 and has covered network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television, including writing the "Local News Close-Up" market profiles. He also hosted the podcasts "Busted Pilot" and "Series Business." His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The L.A. Times, The Boston Globe and New York magazine.