A very important person in the history of mass media passed away. While you may not know his name I think we should take a moment to remember him and his contribution.
Ben Hoberman passed away Monday at the age of 92 due to complications from cancer. He is responsible for developing the first all-talk radio station in the country, KABC-AM in Los Angeles.
Under Hoberman’s management the station went playing middle-of-the road music to the “Conversation Station.” Starting in September of 1960 KABC-AM was the home of popular hosts such as Michael Jackson, Bill Balance, Pamela Mason (wife of actor James Mason), Ray Briem and Ken Minyard. In 1974 the station become the flagship radio outlet for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team and remained so until 2011. KABC-FM is still an active station in the Los Angeles area and hosts personalities such as Don Imus, Sean Hannity, Doug McIntyre, Larry Elder and More.
In 2003 he was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame and Disney’s Robert Iger described Hoberman as “quite a pioneer, helping to create the bedrock of today’s radio industry. Today our entire radio group thrives because of Ben, who blazed a trail for modern-day talk radio.”
After leaving KABC-AM in 1979 he served as president of ABC Radio in New York. There he oversaw six satellite radio networks, six AM stations and six FM Stations. He quit ABC in 1986 after the merger between Capital Cities Communications and ABC, which was worth $19 billion. Hoberman returned to Los Angeles and retired after a failed attempt to raise funds for a takeover of the radio division.
Hoberman’s started his radio career at WFMG-AN in Hibbing, Minn. where he was an announcer and salesman. During World War II he was assigned to the Armed Forces Network where he ran the French radio station before returning to the states in 1946 to work for WELI-AM in New Haven, Conn.
In 1950 he moved to Detroit to work as an account executive for the ABC-owned WXYZ-TV. Eight years later he became the GM at WABC-AM in New York and after that gig he decided to relocate to Los Angeles and take on the job at KABC-AM.
He survived by two sons, both in the entertainment industry, a daughter and four grandchildren.
A man who helped changed the face of entertainment. May we take a moment to remember his contribution.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter