Latest additions to “Giants of BroadcastingÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â are Bennack, Mays, Caballero, Walters, Jennings, Schieffer, Bullitt, Durante and Smith.
Nine broadcasting industry figures will be honored by the Library of American Broadcasting as “Giants of BroadcastingÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â this September.
The latest class of honorees will be inducted at the LAB’s annual luncheon on Sept. 14 in New York’s Grand Hyatt hotel. The LAB, housed at the University of Maryland in College Park, began celebration of the Giants of Broadcasting in 2003 and, with the current class of inductees, will have honored 90 distinguished broadcasters from the ranks of inventors, entrepreneurs, programmers and journalists. Don West, former editor in chief of Broadcasting & Cable, is the president and CEO of the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation.
This year’s roster ranges from past notables Dorothy Bullitt, Jimmy Durante, Kate Smith and Peter Jennings to such present business chieftains as Frank Bennack Jr. and Lowry Mays, Hispanic broadcast pioneer Eduardo Caballero and contemporary journalistic celebrities Barbara Walters and Bob Schieffer.
The full roster:
Frank A. Bennack Jr., immediate past president and chief executive officer of Hearst Corporation, of which he was CEO for 23 years, engaged in a broad range of publishing, broadcasting, cable networking and diversified communications activities. The company now comprises more than 100 separate businesses with some 20,000 employees. He was instrumental in creating Hearst-Argyle Television Inc., now with 28 stations.
Dorothy Stimson Bullitt, founder of King Broadcasting Company in Seattle and the first woman in the United States to buy and manage a television station. Her broadcasting exposure began with purchase of a small AM station, which she changed to KING (negotiating with a sea captain to do so). She next bought an FM station and then a TV. Active until the end, she died in 1989 at age 97.
Eduardo Caballero, born in Oriente, Cuba, is a broadcast pioneer with over 40 years experience in Spanish-language television and radio. By 1963 he had become the first Hispanic general sales manager of a U.S. station. Later he launched the first music broadcast TV network, MasMusica TeVe. He started Caballero Spanish Media, the nation’s first Spanish radio representation firm, in 1973.
Jimmy Durante, who parlayed a ragtime piano and his signature “Goodnight, Mrs. Calabash, Wherever You Are,” into a show business legend that lasted from the early 1900’s to 1980. It was at the Club Alamo in Harlem that he became known as “The Schnozzola.” By the late ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œ40s he was on radio but he hit his real stride with a variety hour on television, which he closed each night by striding off to a succession of spotlights.
Peter Jennings, the veteran anchor and senior editor of ABC’s World News Tonight—he assumed that post in 1983 and held it more than 20 years—he was earlier one of the first reporters to go to Vietnam (in the 1960s) and, on Dec. 31, 1999, anchored the Peabody-award winning coverage of Millennium Eve. Among his many awards were 16 Emmys, two George Foster Peabody awards and two Edward R. Murrow awards. Jennings died of cancer in August 2005.
L. Lowry Mays and Family, whose accomplishments began virtually from scratch and culminated in the San Antonio-based Clear Channel Communications, which is the nation’s largest radio company, has 40 television stations and 870,000 outdoor advertising displays. It now operates in 65 countries with more than 30,000 employees. While he remains chairman, his sons Mark and Randall are now CEO and president, respectively (there are four Mays children and 16 grandchildren). Lowry Mays has many ties with Texas A&M University, is on the Associates Board of Harvard Business School and is a former joint board chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters.
Bob Schieffer, who succeeded Dan Rather as anchor of The CBS Evening News, turned a temporary assignment into a triumph. He was been the network’s senior correspondent in Washington for 30 years, also serving as anchor and moderator of Face the Nation. He was for 20 years anchor of the Saturday edition of the CBS Evening News. His many awards have included those of the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame and the Paul White Award of the Radio-Television News Directors Association.
Kate Smith, who made God Bless America an unofficial national anthem and during her career made more than 15,000 radio broadcasts and a successful run on television. She was credited with selling over $600 million in War Bonds. She had the most popular radio variety hour, The Kate Smith Hour, which aired weekly from 1937-45, and the No. 1 daytime radio show, the midday Kate Smith Speaks, a news and commentary program. In 1950 Miss Smith entered television with a Monday-Friday afternoon variety show, The Kate Smith Hour (1950-54), that proved so popular that NBC gave her a prime-time show on Wednesday evenings, The Kate Smith Evening Hour.
Barbara Walters is credited with interviewing more statesmen and stars—from Sadaam Hussein to Fidel Castro (twice) to Monica Lewinsky—than any other journalist in history. Her stock-in-trade has been in getting the most coveted interview of the hour, with the subject most difficult to obtain. She joined ABC News as the first woman co-host of the evening news (with Harry Reasoner) after 15 years on NBC’s Today Show as that broadcast’s first woman co-host For 25 years she was co-host and chief correspondent of ABC News’ 20/20 and is now co-owner, co-executive producer and co-host of The View. Her Barbara Walters Specials are continuously the top-rated of the year and have included such subjects as Sir Laurence Olivier, Bing Crosby, John Wayne, Bette Davis and Audrey Hepburn. Similarly, her annual (since 1993) The 10 Most Fascinating People has captivated audiences from the beginning.