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Television Pioneer and Former President of CBS Dies

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A television pioneer has died. Frank Stanton helped lead CBS from the radio age to TV. WNYC's Dan Blumberg has more.

60 minutes creator Don Hewitt said if broadcasting had a patron saint, it would be Frank Stanton. Stanton rose through the ranks at CBS and became president in 1946. Over the next 26 years, he took chances on comic Jackie Gleason, the sitcom I Love Lucy, and he bet on news -- assembling the pre-eminent news team at 60 minutes.

Stanton also fought for first amendment rights. In 1971 he was subpoenaed by Congress to produce un-aired footage from a controversial CBS News documentary. He refused and was nearly sent to jail. Stanton also developed a way for stations to figure out just how many listeners they had. The system was a forerunner to today's Nielson Ratings.

After leaving CBS in 1973, Stanton served as chairman of the American Red Cross. Frank Stanton was 98. For WNYC, I'm Dan Blumberg.

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