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Chip Off the Old (A) Block

I had some fun reporting the profile I did of WPRI-WNAC Providence GM Jay Howell, “Running Stations Runs in the Family,” in the new issue. Jay is an industry brat, and one of the few station GMs out there whose father was also a GM.

John Howell III came from the news side and became GM at WPXI Pittsburgh. (John also has one of the great local TV emails around; it begins ‘extvgm’.) His son Jay, a.k.a. John Howell IV, was named GM of KRBC Abilene/KACB San Angelo at the age of 31 before shifting to WPRI.

Jay credits his fast rise to growing up watching his father dissect local news.

“When you watch television with a father who’s a news director, you don’t watch like other people,” Jay says. “He’s taking notes, he’s making comments, he’s swearing. I didn’t realize it at the time, but growing up in that environment really helped me.”

It’s hard to measure, but I’d venture a guess that television has a much higher rate of industry brats; sons and daughters following fathers and mothers into the same line of work. CBS Stations prez Peter Dunn, for one, has his dad’s old CBS ID card framed on his desk.

Any other examples of kids sticking with the family business out there?

Better yet, any examples of both the parent and the offspring becoming station GMs, like the Howells?

UPDATE: One reader adds Meredith’s Paul Karpowicz, KSDK St. Louis’s Lynn Beall and Ralphy Oakley of Quincy Newspapers to the list.

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.