A personal remembrance by Don West, former editor of Broadcasting & Cable and current president of the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation.
Tony Malara leaves a void the broadcasting industry will never fill—or when it does, I want to be there. He was one of those spirits who made everyone in the room happier for his being there. I can’t remember his ever saying “no” to a request to show up for a communion breakfast or bar mitzvah or to serve as master of ceremonies at still another roast or awards dinner. Tony would know everyone in the room, and everything about them, and burst every balloon in sight.
Tony had one of broadcasting’s strangest career paths. In this most peripatetic of industries he had one job for something like 29 years, running one of the smaller television stations in the United States, WWNY in Watertown, N.Y. That’s where I first knew him, sharing as we did an affinity for the North Country. Who knew that CBS would pluck him out of that relative obscurity to take over station relations in New York and put him on the executive track that would lead to a presidency of the television network?
It all made perfect sense in hindsight. Tony knew the business from the ground up, and virtually every broadcaster in the CBS lineup was his personal friend.
The St. Lawrence River has turned to tears today. Tony’s won’t be among them. He’ll still be smiling through.
Editor’s note: If you have memories of Tony that you’d like to share with your fellow broadcasters, please send them to Mark Miller at [email protected].