Born before there was a radio station anywhere, Marty Beck became one of the industry’s most successful group owners. He has now died at age 93.
Beck jumped into the media business, joining The Katz Agency right out of college. He rose to become President of Katz Radio. Leaving the rep business in 1968, he and his brother-in-law, George Ross, began buying radio stations as Beck-Ross Communications. Seeing the potential of FM radio, Beck put WBLI-FM on the air on Long Island in 1970 and Beck-Ross then added FM properties in other states.
Operating at a time when radio companies were strictly limited in the number of stations they could own, Beck-Ross grew over 28 years to have stations in five states. The company was acquired in 1995 for the then-substantial price of $40 million by Liberty Broadcasting.
Even after Beck-Ross, Marty Beck invested in radio properties with his son-in-law, Jim Champlin. He also served as a director of Granite Broadcasting, a TV group where his son, Stuart Beck, was President. Marty Beck also got into new media, serving on the board of SiteShell Corporation, an early developer of radio station websites.
Beck was recognized in 1992 with the National Association of Broadcasters’ National Radio Award, in 1999 he received the Broadcasters Foundation Pioneer Award and in 2005 was an inaugural inductee into the New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
Among his many industry activities, he had served as Chairman of the NAB Radio Board as well as President of the New York State Broadcasters Association, served the industry as a member of the Radio Music Licensing Committee and as a Director of the Broadcasters Foundation of America.
Funeral services will be Friday, October 22nd at 1:00 pm at Boulvard-Riverside-Hewlett Chapel in Hewlett, NY.