Robert Pauley dead at 85


The New York Times reports the death of former ABC Radio Network President Robert Pauley at age 85. Among other things, Pauley was credited with putting Howard Cosell on the network.

According to the obituary, Cosell in 1960 gave Pauley, then an ABC programming VP, a tape of his local Little League baseball reports and proposed a weekly sports show. Pauley told Cosell he’d have to find his own sponsor and sent him away, expecting never to hear from him again. Instead, Cosell got a relative’s shirt company as sponsor and Pauley was true to his word. “Speaking of Sports” in various forms aired for the next three decades and Cosell became a star of both radio and TV.

Pauley became President of ABC Radio Network in 1961 and held the post until 1967, increasing its affiliate count and sales.

For years after, Pauley sought to establish a fourth television network focused on news coverage. Beer mogul Joseph Coors backed the start up of Television News Inc. in 1973 to counter what he saw as liberal bias in other television networks, but pulled his financial support in 1975. One of Pauley’s employees was Roger Ailes, who later established Fox News Channel.

Pauley died on May 2nd of lung and heart failure, but his death did not receive national media coverage until Thursday’s New York Times obituary. We did, however, find an earlier report in the Spartanburg Herald Journal. Pauley had been a professor at the University of South Carolina – Spartanburg.