Bryant Kent “Ken” Hawkins, a longtime member of the National Association of Media Brokers (NAMB) and a founding partner of Raycom Media, died Thursday (3/9) at the age of 77.
Hawkins was at a rehabilitation facility near his home in Wetumpka, Alabama, and was recovering from surgery completed a week earlier.
“Ken is quite a story,” recalled Glenn Serafin, who serves as NAMB President in addition to his role as Director of Tampa-based brokerage Serafin Bros. “At the dawn of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which liberalized TV ownership, he leveraged his contacts and great reputation as a television general manager in Selma, Ala., into becoming a founding partner of Raycom Media, which bought dozens of TV stations from Ellis Communications, Federal Enterprises and American Family Life Assurance Company (AFLAC), all in 1996.”
Working with its investor, Retirement Systems of Alabama, Raycom’s aggregate financing eventually totaled $1.35 billion, according to news reports. “Think about it,” Serafin said. “That was 20 years ago!”
Today, Raycom, with headquarters in Montgomery, Ala., owns and/or operates 63 television stations in 42 markets, as well as sports marketing companies and other media related enterprises.
After retiring as Chairman from Raycom, Hawkins joined the media brokerage firm Satterfield & Perry, one of the founding firms of the National Association of Media Brokers. His Satterfield partner, John Willis, said Hawkins was “very knowledgeable and very easy going.” Another former station owner and current broker, Bill Cate of Media Services Group, was a regular golf partner and a good friend. “Ken was great fun,” Cate said, “he was a knowledgeable broadcaster and will be missed. I hear it’s just like FM up there in heaven, no static at all.”
Among many other family members, Ken Hawkins leaves behind his wife Marilyn, sons Brett and Todd, and a grandson Phillip. A celebration of his life was planned for March 12. Memorials may be made to St. Jude’s Hospital for Children.