WCVB Founder Bob Bennett Dies at 89

Bob Bennett—89, founding GM at WCVB-TV Boston—died Tuesday at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, Calif.

Bennett, who was inducted into the B&C Hall of Fame in 1994, launched then-independent WCVB in 1972.

His broadcasting career began in 1952 as a salesman for then-Metromedia's KTTV Los Angeles. He also ran Metromedia's WTTG-TV Washington, D.C., and then WNEW-TV New York.

"Whatever you do live and in news determines your image," Bennett told B&C back in 1974 when he was running WCVB-TV.

The station earned a reputation as one of the best-run outlets in the country, even attracting the interest of Hollywood producers at a time when they were dealing mostly with the Big Three nets. The station in 1979 co-produced sitcom The Baxters with Norman Lear, which got a two-season run in syndication, and ABC bought locally produced movie Summer Solstice in 1981.

In 1982, only 11 years after launching the stations, Metromedia bought it for $220 million, and Bennett became head of the station group. In 1985, Metromedia founder John Kluge, along with Bennett and two others, took the group private. It was then sold the next year to Rupert Murdoch to become the launch pad of the Fox Network.

He is survived by his wife Marjie, daughter Kelly Bennett, grandson Brandon Bennett, and son Casey Bennett.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.