The New Year is just days away, it’s a time for many to take stock, to think of better times ahead. It’s also an opportunity to reflect on those media people whom we lost this year.
Among them in our memory, radio lost a couple of pioneering personalities, TV lost a reporter, who quietly became a civil rights activist, and an executive who made his mark in public television in a second career.
Here’s a look at FishbowlNY In Memoriam: 2012
Robert Kotlowitz — After a long run in publishing, including the managing editor at Harper’s Magazine, Kotlowitz was tabbed to lead the upstart WNET/Channel 13. He was named the station’s first VP of programming and broadcasting in 1971.
- R. Peter Straus — He oversaw WMCA during its heyday, turning the family business into the number one station in New York in the late 1950s.
- Al Brady Law — A veteran radio programmer, who achieved his biggest brush with greatness as DJ and assistant program director at WNBC.
- Judith Crist — A renaissance woman, who could be a film critic for the TV Guide, or on TV, the Today Show. Earlier in her career, Crist was entertainment reporter for the now-defunct New York Herald Tribune.
- Warner Fusselle — The only Brooklyn Cyclones play-by-play announcer until his death, Fusselle was also known as the narrator for This Week in Baseball.
- Dom Valentino — Largely lost to history, Valentino was the Yankees, Nets, and Islanders radio voice in the mid-1970s.
- Carlos DeJesus — An air personality at popular Disco 92/WKTU, DeJesus was also the first voice of New York Hot Tracks on WABC/Channel 7.
- Hal Jackson — A true radio icon, Jackson’s career spanned an astounding nine decades. The trailblazing air personality was still on the air on WBLS doing a weekly show at the time of his death.
- Brian Carter — WBLS weekend jock and also on SiriusXM’s 50s channel. Prior to his arrival in New York, Carter was part of a successful morning show in Philadelphia.
- Tom Morrera — A one-time overnight jock at WNEW, he was also briefly the station’s music director.
- Gil Noble — He hosted one of New York’s most-vital shows each week for African Americans, WABC’s Like It Is. He helped document his race’s struggles for more than 40 years, while interviewing Blacks from all walks of life.
- Pete Fornatale (above) — Whether you listened to WNEW-FM in the 1970s and 1980s, Fordham’s WFUV in the last decade, or read one of his books focusing on the history of rock music, you were in contact with greatness. He was at the forefront of the progressive radio revolution, which he started at ‘FUV as a student in the late 1960s.
- Mike Wallace — The legend made ambush-style reporting an institution of TV news, since the debut of 60 Minutes in 1968.
- Dick Clark — As a host, he was unrivaled, fronting American Bandstand, New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, and game shows, such as the $20,000 Pyramid. As a producer, Clark was equally impressive forming his eponymous company that ran numerous shows, several award telecasts.