Tim Krass, a cable-programming affiliate executive who served more than a decade at regional sports network Prime Ticket (from 1985) and then 14 years at Fox/Liberty Networks, among other ventures, died on January 14 of bile duct cancer at age 67 in Los Angeles.
Friends and former colleagues said they were saddened and stunned. His illness was only diagnosed in late November, soon after learning he had a publishing deal for a book he was writing about overcoming depression and addiction, in hopes of helping other people struggling with those issues. "He planned to share his experiences to help others navigate life’s curveballs," Janice Arouh, a friend and former colleague at Fox who is now the president of network distribution
at Entertainment Studios Networks and The Weather Group, said in a Facebook tribute.
A Detroit native and avid sports fan, Krass was proud to have worked for Prime Ticket, the RSN home of the Los Angeles Lakers and L.A. Kings among other teams, and then for Fox/Liberty Networks, the precursor to Fox Cable Networks, and of launching Fox Sports Detroit, Arouh said. Later, he was senior VP at early streaming provider Intertainer and executive VP of affiliate relations at Univision Television Group. From late 2013 to March 2017 he was VP of affiliate sales, Western Region, for niche network provider Luken Communications. Another colleague at Fox, Sean Riley, said Krass "left us far too soon" and that he "will be missed by so many of us who he impacted in the media business. An incredibly talented executive, Tim was a great mentor with a really big heart."
He also deserves credit for hardball distribution tactics that caused headaches for cable operators while at Fox and are still in use today, Arouh said. "Tim invented the playbook for blackouts and surcharges and regional sports networks leverage," she said, winning him few fans at multichannel video programming distributors, though he was just doing what was best for the networks he represented.
Marc Krass, his brother, said Tim had a special connection to the Kevin Love Fund. "Kevin Love is a star player with the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA team who established this charity to support mental health—the perfect combination of Tim’s lifelong passion for sports and his work in recent years encouraging men to overcome their social hesitancies and seek help when they experience mental health issues. The fund has established a dedicated page on its website for people to make contributions in Tim’s memory." Here is the link to that page: https://www.eifoundation.org/partners/the-kevin-love-fund/?form=FUNBAMSKYSP.
A sunset memorial (7:45-9:45 PM) is planned in Krass's memory at Dockweiler State Beach in Playa del Rey (11999 Vista Del Mar) on Saturday, February 26, in an area of the parking lot where there are picnic tables and fire pits. Former Fox Cable executive Lindsay Gardner and public relations maven Bob Gold will act as MCs. It's a come one, come all event, Gold said, bring a story and your own wood to burn, plus chairs and blankets. If it rains, the backup date is Saturday, March 5.
"It will be interesting to see who shows because Tim walked in many different worlds," Gold said. ■
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Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Nexttv.com. Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.