Former NAB Chief Eddie Fritts Named a Giant of Broadcasting

COLLEGE PARK, MD.The former and mildly flamboyant head of the National Association of Broadcasters had been named as one of the Giants of Broadcasting. The honor is bestowed by the University of Maryland’s Library of American Broadcasting.

Along with Mr. Edward O. Fritts, America’s “poet laureate of radio” Norman Corwin will be honored, as will Dick Clark, Sam Donaldson, Hal Jackson, Agnes Nixon, Lesley Stahl and--posthumously--Rue McClanahan, Daniel Schorr, Art Linkletter and David Wolper. The honors will be awarded at a luncheon in New York City Oct. 6. Charles Osgood will emcee the event, a fundraiser for the library, now managed by former Broadcasting & Cable chief Don West.

There are now 116 Giants of Broadcasting. Among this year’s honorees, Dick Clark is best known for hosting “American Bandstand,” which aired on ABC for three decades. He’s also hosted and produced multiple projects, including “The $100,000 Pyramidm” and “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.” Norman Corwin’s radio programs included “26 by Corwin,” “We Hold These Truths” and his wartime broadcasts “An American in England” and “On A Note of Triumph.” His movie script for “Lust For Life,” a biography of Van Gogh, won him an Oscar nomination.

Sam Donaldson is a 42-year veteran of ABC news. Fritts ran the NAB for more than 20 years. Hal Jackson was the first black radio announcer in network radio, the first black host of a jazz show on the ABC network and the first black to host an interracial network television show on NBC. Art Linkletter hosted “People Are Funny” and “House Party,” two of the longest-running shows in broadcasting. “House Party” started on radio in 1945 and started airing on TV as well in 1952, running until 1969.

Rue McClanahan was Blanche Devereaux on “The Golden Girls.” Her work includes more than 100 film, television and stage roles, including “Out to Sea,” a comedy starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, and on Broadway in “Wicked.” Agnes Nixon is considered the queen of soap operas, having created “Search for Tomorrow,” “One Life to Live,” “All My Children” and “Loving.” She also contributed to “As the World Turns,” “Another World” and “The Guiding Light.” She wrote more than 25,000 hours of television in her 40-year career, and won five Daytime Emmys.