A special visitor to Gary's Ice Cream tonight

Karen McTrotsky karenmctrotsky@gmail.com
Sat Jul 2 17:48:46 EDT 2011

Bob Kennedy actually became a pretty big deal on WLS-TV. It led to
Chicago-based Sears, Roebuck &Co .hiring him to start the Craftsman Eager-1
on live TV sporting events, most notable on ABC college hoops and NBA games,
WLS being an ABC O&O.  The sell line was "starts first try, every try" but
on occasion it didn't. Like in the first ad during a college hoop game, it
sputtered and died.

 They had a scoreboard posted next to the mower and it started the
overwhelming part of the time but the risk that it might not made the ads
very effective.

Kennedy was in line to become the first host of AM America on the ABC
television network when he up and died of cancer.  Instead, ABC used Bill
Beutel which resulted in a more news-oriented approach than one would think
Kennedy would have taken, and trhe program foundered as a news-oriented
alternative to Today, so AM American was reworked into Good Morning America
with David Hartman. One can only wonder if Kennedy's "people, places and
ideas" approach was what they were looking for when he died and they ended
up with the more news-oriented show with Beutel as the front-man  before
reworking the show into the less news-intensive Hartman vehicle.

  Kennedy's morning show on WLS was replaced by "AM Chicago" which was
eventually hosted by Oprah Winfrey who did so well with it that it begat an

Irony of ironies, Paul Benzaquin also left Boston for Chicago and also went
to WLS, to host a late-nite TV show and clearing the way for Gene Burns to
come to Boston from WBAL to replace him for one year, until Benzaquin took
his job back, but the program manager of WEEI at the time came back to
Boston as General Manager of WRKO and hired Burns from Miami to switch the
talker from lifestyle to issue talk in mid-day, which led the station to top
the Arbitron ratings in the 80s and early 90s before American Radio and its
predessors got its hands on the station and destroyed it while doing quite
well by using radio cash flow as a hedge fund to leverage deregulation into
piles of cash before deciding they didn't like radio as much as they liked
the towers.

Karen McT.

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