Donald McGannon
Donald H. McGannon was a broadcasting
Broadcasting is the distribution of audio and video content to a dispersed audience via any audio visual medium. Receiving parties may include the general public or a relatively large subset of thereof...

 industry executive during the formative years of the television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

 industry in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. As chairman of the Westinghouse Broadcasting
Westinghouse Broadcasting
The Westinghouse Broadcasting Company, also known as Group W, was the broadcasting division of Westinghouse Electric Corporation. It owned several radio and television stations across the United States and distributed television shows for syndication....

 Company, McGannon was a devoted advocate of broadcasting’s potential for good and worked to improve the standards of radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

 and television broadcasting.

Early career

Born September 9, 1920 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, McGannon graduated from Fordham University
Fordham University
Fordham University is a private, nonprofit, coeducational research university in the United States, with three campuses in and around New York City. It was founded by the Roman Catholic Diocese of New York in 1841 as St...

 and Fordham Law School, with a brief interruption when he enlisted in the Army and married Patricia Burke. Following law school
Law school
A law school is an institution specializing in legal education.- Law degrees :- Canada :...

, McGannon practiced law until 1952, when his interest in broadcasting led him to become general manager and assistant director of the DuMont Television Network
DuMont Television Network
The DuMont Television Network, also known as the DuMont Network, DuMont, Du Mont, or Dumont was one of the world's pioneer commercial television networks, rivalling NBC for the distinction of being first overall. It began operation in the United States in 1946. It was owned by DuMont...

. Three years later, McGannon’s mentor, Chris Wittig, brought McGannon to the Westinghouse Broadcasting Company as president, a position he held for more than twenty five years. Westinghouse was, at the time, one of the largest television station
Television station
A television station is a business, organisation or other such as an amateur television operator that transmits content over terrestrial television. A television transmission can be by analog television signals or, more recently, by digital television. Broadcast television systems standards are...

 ownership groups in the country.

The voice of responsibility in broadcasting

At Westinghouse, McGannon insisted on dropping cigarette advertising despite protests from network officials. He was also a primary force behind the “prime-time access rule
Prime Time Access Rule
The Prime Time Access Rule was instituted by the Federal Communications Commission in 1970 to restrict the amount of network broadcast programming that a local television station, Owned-and-operated station by or affiliated with a television network may air during "prime time"...

,” which the FCC
Federal Communications Commission
The Federal Communications Commission is an independent agency of the United States government, created, Congressional statute , and with the majority of its commissioners appointed by the current President. The FCC works towards six goals in the areas of broadband, competition, the spectrum, the...

 instituted in 1971 in order to return a portion of each evening’s prime time
Prime time
Prime time or primetime is the block of broadcast programming during the middle of the evening for television programing.The term prime time is often defined in terms of a fixed time period—for example, from 19:00 to 22:00 or 20:00 to 23:00 Prime time or primetime is the block of broadcast...

 schedule to local stations (rather than the networks). Donald McGannon was also the principal force behind Westinghouse developing its own standards of copy and program acceptance, because he felt the NAB
National Association of Broadcasters
The National Association of Broadcasters is a trade association, workers union, and lobby group representing the interests of for-profit, over-the-air radio and television broadcasters in the United States...

 code standards were not sufficient.

Often called an iconoclast
An iconoclast is someone who engages in iconoclasm—destruction of religious symbols or, by extension, established dogma or conventions.Iconoclast may also refer to:...

, McGannon used his prominence in broadcasting to influence the regulations, standards, and practices of broadcasting. He was a vocal advocate of social responsibility
Social responsibility
Social responsibility is an ethical ideology or theory that an entity, be it an organization or individual, has an obligation to act to benefit society at large. Social responsibility is a duty every individual or organization has to perform so as to maintain a balance between the economy and the...

 in broadcasting and worked to educate the public through television.

In 1968, Donald McGannon was awarded the Trustee Award of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences or NATAS was created in 1955 to advance the arts and sciences of television. Headquartered in New York, NATAS's membership is national and the organization has local chapters around the country....

, the Television Academy’s highest honor, given in recognition of unusual or enduring achievements to the arts or sciences of television. Other winners of this award have included Edward R. Murrow
Edward R. Murrow
Edward Roscoe Murrow, KBE was an American broadcast journalist. He first came to prominence with a series of radio news broadcasts during World War II, which were followed by millions of listeners in the United States and Canada.Fellow journalists Eric Sevareid, Ed Bliss, and Alexander Kendrick...

, Bob Hope
Bob Hope
Bob Hope, KBE, KCSG, KSS was a British-born American comedian and actor who appeared in vaudeville, on Broadway, and in radio, television and movies. He was also noted for his work with the US Armed Forces and his numerous USO shows entertaining American military personnel...

, Walter Cronkite
Walter Cronkite
Walter Leland Cronkite, Jr. was an American broadcast journalist, best known as anchorman for the CBS Evening News for 19 years . During the heyday of CBS News in the 1960s and 1970s, he was often cited as "the most trusted man in America" after being so named in an opinion poll...

, and Ted Turner
Ted Turner
Robert Edward "Ted" Turner III is an American media mogul and philanthropist. As a businessman, he is known as founder of the cable news network CNN, the first dedicated 24-hour cable news channel. In addition, he founded WTBS, which pioneered the superstation concept in cable television...

. McGannon was also a huge influence on education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

, as a trustee or adviser to several universities, and was a founding director of Sacred Heart University
Sacred Heart University
Sacred Heart University is a Roman Catholic university located in suburban Fairfield, Connecticut, United States. Sacred Heart was founded in 1963 by the Most Reverend Walter W. Curtis, Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Sacred Heart University was the first Catholic university in...

, as well as serving on the Board of Directors of Radio Free Europe
Radio Free Europe
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is a broadcaster funded by the U.S. Congress that provides news, information, and analysis to countries in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East "where the free flow of information is either banned by government authorities or not fully developed"...


Donald McGannon died in 1984, leaving behind his wife Patricia and 13 children.


In 1986, public interest media policy advocate Everett C. Parker founded the Donald McGannon Communication Research Center  at Fordham University in honor of Donald McGannon and his commitment to social responsibility in the media. The center’s mission is to conduct, support, reward, and disseminate research that informs the communications policymaking process and ethical decision-making in the management of media institutions. Each year, the McGannon Center awards the Donald McGannon Award for Social and Ethical Relevance in Communications Policy Research to the best book addressing issues of communications policy or ethics published in the previous year.

Donald McGannon’s legacy also lives on in the annual Donald H. McGannon Award awarded each year by the Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ
United Church of Christ
The United Church of Christ is a mainline Protestant Christian denomination primarily in the Reformed tradition but also historically influenced by Lutheranism. The Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches united in 1957 to form the UCC...

 to an individual who has made special contributions to advancing opportunities for women and people of color in the media, as well as in the annual Donald McGannon Award presented each year by the National Urban League
National Urban League
The National Urban League , formerly known as the National League on Urban Conditions Among Negroes, is a nonpartisan civil rights organization based in New York City that advocates on behalf of African Americans and against racial discrimination in the United States. It is the oldest and largest...

to individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to ideals and beliefs in equal opportunity.

External links

  • The Donald McGannon Communication Research Center:
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.