In 1977, fresh out of Boston University, Bill Fine took to the sports desk at WPTZ-5 in Plattsburgh, N.Y., instead of driving to Los Angeles to begin film school at the University of Southern California.
By 1982, he was back in Boston, for the first of three stints at a station that had just purchased by Metromedia for a then-record $220 million.
Today, Fine is approaching 15 years in that third round at the Boston TV station, today owned by Hearst Television. He’ll celebrate by retiring later this year from the ABC affiliate.
Fine, only the fourth President/GM since its sign-on in 1972, is ready to retire as the head of WCVB-5.
The station is considered by Hearst to be its flagship property, and there’s no word as to who will succeed Fine at the station.
At this time, the company is focusing its efforts on saluting Fine, one of the TV industry’s most recognizable local executives.
“Bill has been a trusted colleague, mentor and friend for more than 25 years,” said Hearst Television President Jordan Wertlieb. “He has been an instrumental force in our company and the industry with an unmatched passion and knowledge for broadcasting. Over the term of his entire career, his leadership and influence have left an indelible legacy on many of our company’s current and future leaders.”
This includes two stops at Hearst’s WBAL-11 in Baltimore, where he was GSM from June 1993-June 1996, and President/GM from 1998-2005.
In between, Fine was at WCVB, as GSM.
“I am extremely fortunate to have devoted nearly my entire career to not only the best local television broadcaster in Boston, but, with Hearst Television, the best in the country,” Fine said. “Half of my life has been spent at WCVB, resulting in countless fond memories and friendships that will never fade. To have the honor of making my life’s work with Hearst, witnessing this wonderful Boston institution provide such an extraordinary service to our community — my beloved hometown — is a dream fulfilled.”
Under Fine’s leadership, WCVB won the regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence 11 of the past 13 years, with two National Murrow Overall Excellence wins. WCVB has captured the National Headliner Award for Best Newscast in the country four of the past five years as well as the New England Emmy for Best Newscast nine of the last 11 years.
Also during Fine’s tenure, WCVB earned six Gabriel Awards as the “Nation’s Best Television Station,” and was presented with a prestigious Service to America Award in 2014 by the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation for its efforts to serve the Boston community following the 2013 attack on the Boston Marathon.
Within the industry, Fine is a past chairman of the Television Bureau of Advertising’s Board of Directors as well as of the organization’s Sales Advisory Committee; he is also a past chairman and current board member of the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association. He served eight years, a portion of that as Vice Chair, on the ABC Television Affiliates Association Board of Governors Executive Committee; and he served on the board of the Maryland/DC/Delaware Broadcasters Association.
Fine was named 2016 Broadcaster of the Year by the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association, the organization’s highest honor.
By the end of 2020, he plans to focus on his newest role, as a proud grandfather to two-year-old Lex.