A ‘Pioneer and Legend’: WCVB Founder Bob Bennett Has Died

By Mark Joyella 

Robert Bennett, the Hall of Fame broadcaster who founded Boston ABC affiliate WCVB, has died in Newport Beach, California. He was 89.

“Bob was beloved by all, with an infectious personality and unparalleled leadership ability. In launching WCVB in 1972, Bob’s vision was one of a truly local television station, a blueprint which has been dutifully followed for 45 years,” said WCVB president and general manager Bill Fine. “He was a genuine broadcasting pioneer and legend, respected equally by his staff and competitors. His impact on local broadcasting, nationwide, is his legacy.”

Bennett died Tuesday night at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach. In his 50-year career, he led some of the country’s most successful television stations, including WTTG in Washington and what was then WNEW (now WNYW) in New York.

In 1972, Bennett led a group who were awarded a license to create a new station in Boston. Under Bennett’s leadership, WCVB was described by The New York Times as “probably America’s best television station.”

Receiving the NATPE President’s Award in 1985, Bennett was described as a “distinguished, inspired, dedicated leader … willing to take a chance; a man who encourages his colleagues to experiment, to try new ideas, even to risk failure.”