Ted Conant, 89, filmmaker

From the Valley News, Hanover, NH

conantTheodore Richards Conant, the documentary filmmaker and technology consultant, died on Wednesday, October 14, 2015, at his home in Hanover. He was 89 years old.

Mr. Conant developed an early interest in radio and was an avid ham radio operator as a teenager. While still a student at the Putney School in Vermont, he made his first film with he help of the pioneer American filmmaker Robert J. Flaherty, who made the first successful documentary, Nanook of the North.

During World War II, Mr. Conant was recruited by the Merchant Marine at age 17 due to the dire need for skilled radio officers. After the war, he remained in Asia for a year and developed a lifelong interest in the culture, history, and nascent film history of Korea.

When he finally returned home from the war, he learned Flaherty was working on The Louisiana Story and secured a position on the film crew. After graduating from Swarthmore College in 1951 with an honors degree in Economics, he returned to Asia to make a United Nations funded documentary about the plight of ordinary civilians during the Korean War.

Drawing on footage taken during that period, he went on to make a number of documentaries. The most important, Children in Crisis, which portrayed the devastating effects of the long conflict on Korean children won the award for best documentary at the Berlin Film Festival in 1955.

During the 1960s, Mr. Conant went on to become a guest director at the National Film Board in Montreal, Canada, and later joined WGBH Educational Foundation in Boston, Mass.

Later, he worked as a technology consultant with Peter C. Goldmark at CBS Laboratories in Stamford, Conn., and James D. Wolfensohn at Shroders investment bank in New York.

Mr. Conant was the son of Jams Bryant Conant, the President of Harvard University and administrative director of the Manhattan Project. His mother, Grace Richards Conant, was the daughter of Theodore Williams Richards, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1914. He is survived by his wife Ellen, and two children, James and Jennet, and one grandson.

To view an online memorial and or send a message of condolence to the family, please visit www.rand-wilson.com

From Michael Ambrosino

Ted worked on several special projects for WGBH under the direction of then President, Hartford Gunn, and for a time was the Manager of WGBX-TV, Channel 44. He was a good fellow, always willing to help others, and a kind friend to many in Public Broadcasting.

Ben Wattenberg, 81, author and host

From Current.org

Ben Wattenberg, a neoconservative author and host of a nationally syndicated talk show on public television, died June 28 in Washington, D.C. He was 81.


Think Tank With Ben Wattenberg aired from April 1994 through January 2010. Episodes featured historians, anthropologists, political scientists, demographers, economists and social philosophers taking deep dives into single subjects. Notable guests over the years included director Sydney Pollack, entrepreneur Elon Musk, economists Milton Friedman and John Kenneth Galbraith, author Kurt Vonnegut, feminist Betty Friedan and social critic Camille Paglia…

Before Think Tank, Wattenberg also hosted weekly programs produced by WGBH in Boston and WETA in Arlington, Va.

Frank Lane, 74, Cameraman and Studio Engineer

From the Boston Globe

Francis X. Lane of Hyannis, formerly of Norwood, passed away peacefully at home on June 28 at the age of 74.

lane-BWBeloved husband of Nancy E. Lane. Devoted and loving father of his son Ryan C. Lane of Natick and adoring daughter Elizabeth B. Lane of Norwood. Francis was the youngest of eleven children born to the late Thomas M. and Nora (Cunningham) Lane of West Roxbury and the son-in-law of the late Patricia (Brown) Wolley of Norwood and Francis W. Cooney of TN. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Ronnie Lane of Braintree, and many nieces and nephews.

Francis (aka Franny, Frank and Fran) was a cameraman and studio engineer for WGBH TV (Channel 2) for 35 years until his retirement in 2003. He was the former president of NABET-CWA Local 18 and the former treasurer of the Barnstable Newcomers Bowling League. In addition to bowling, he loved the beach and playing cribbage, but his greatest joy came from spending time with his family and many friends.

A funeral service will be held on Friday, July 3 at 11 AM at the Kraw-Kornack Funeral Home (1248 Washington St. in NORWOOD) immediately following a visiting hour at 10 AM. Burial will be at Highland Cemetery in Norwood. The family is especially grateful to his dedicated nurse, Diane Munsell.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to VNA of Cape Cod Hospice, 434 Route 134, S. Dennis, MA 02660.



Elizabeth Lane

My dear father, known as Frank to his ‘GBH family, passed away over the weekend. I always loved hearing his work stories (Zoom, the news, the Pops on the Esplanade, the BSO, The French Chef with Julia Child, This Old House, The Victory Garden…the list goes on), visiting him at the station, watching the Auction in hopes of catching a shot of him behind the camera, his days in Master Control, and his many escapades with his best friend, Greg Macdonald. He retired in 2003 after 35 years. Feel free to share your memories of my father!
Elizabeth Lane’s photo.
June 30 at 11:40am

Bob Manosky

I’m very sorry to hear this. Frank and I worked together on many many WGBH programs. He was a great guy.
June 30 at 11:50am

Ben Mayerson

Frank was such a character. He was a leader, a master of his craft, a Teddy Bear, and just an all around super great guy. To you my friend!!
June 30 at 11:51am

Tonia Magras

My deepest condolences! He was a dear friend and father figure to me. Always with a great big smile and bear hug! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this time. I will miss him dearly!
June 30 at 12:16pm

Jack Comeau

I’m so sorry to hear this. There was always something that seemed indestructible about him. At first look he could seem intimidating. I remember thinking, “Who’s this leg breaker?” It took only minutes to discovery his kind, sensitive sense of humor and intelligent. I love working with him on many of the shows that you mentioned above. The world will miss him.
July 1 at 12:17pm

Ilene Fischer

Truly one of a kind. Frank made every shoot that much more fun.
June 30 at 12:20pm

Emily Yacus

Frank was wonderful. I worked with him from 1998-2001 or 02, sitting as an admin assistant behind Master Control. Thanks for sharing these pics of him- I’m smiling and teary at the same time.
June 30 at 12:29pm

Chas Norton

Frank was perhaps one of the brightest persons I ever met; his insightful and trenchant words were always right on.

May he rest in peace!
June 30 at 1:41pm

Dick Heller

Back in the old everybody-does-everything days of the Auction, Frank took over as Director. After a few minutes he handed the headset back to me saying, “I’ll never talk back to you, ever again.” Wonderful guy, always a pleasure to work with.
June 30 at 1:51pm

Cathy Page

Oh no…. I’m so sorry to hear this. Frank was a wonderful guy.
June 30 at 1:56pm

Emily Norman

I’m so sorry for your loss. I loved seeing his friendly face around the hallowed halls of GBH.
June 30 at 2:04pm

Kevin Kalunian

I’m deeply saddened by this news about Frank , but happy that I got to know him on a few rare overnight trips for La Plaza, Say Brother, or other programs that we worked on for The Foundation. He spoke very highly of his colleagues, some who have posted here, and others that left us already for another journey elsewhere. Frank also often mentioned his family while we waited for some event to happen, or while at lunch. He will be missed dearly.
June 30 at 2:14pm

Nancy Walker

I’m so sorry for your loss….Frank was a gentle giant to an 8 year old Zoomer…after College I came back to work with your Father in the field …I was a Production Assistant for Local Programming…what a wonderful person..RIP Frank
June 30 at 2:17pm

Mark Helton

Frank was a true pioneer at Wgbh and the broadcast nation. I learned a lot from both he and Greg. It was a honor to work with your father. Although only a freelancer for gbh all these years, Frank always made me feel welcome at the station and with the union. A pleasure to work with. Peace to Frank, and to his whole family.
June 30 at 2:42pm

Scot Osterweil

Frank was a wonderful guy to work with. On Pops shows he was always Camera 2, the camera at the far back of the hall, getting the widest shots.
June 30 at 2:54pm

Scot Osterweil

In ’85 When Pops played the Lincoln Memorial, camera 2 was at the top of the Washington Monument. But more memorably, he was just a kind, thoughtful person.
June 30 at 2:56pm

John M. Sullivan

So sad to hear this. Frank was warm and wonderful man!
June 30 at 2:59pm

Kathy Gleason

I am so very sorry for you and your family,
June 30 at 3:25pm

Joe Forte

My condolences. Franky was a lot of fun to work with. Sad day.
June 30 at 3:33pm

Mark Helman

I don’t think I’ve ever worked with anybody as well-liked as Frank. My best to you and your family.
June 30 at 3:42pm

Courtnay Malcolm

Frank was one of the first people I met when I started at WGBH in 1991. When I directed the auction Frank and Greg would always play pranks on me and sometimes I would laugh so hard I nearly fell out of my chair. My thoughts are with you and your family.
June 30 at 5:10pm

Maria Agui Carter

Frank was lovely and shot some of the first things I worked on at WGBH. So, so sorry to hear of his passing. Sincere condolences.
June 30 at 6:34pm

Mike Wilkins

We were happy to have Frank at the NABET 18 picnic last fall!
June 30 at 6:37pm

Hilary Finkel Buxton

Sending sincere condolences… Frank was always kind, and wonderful to work with!
June 30 at 7:59pm

Alison Bassett

So sorry to hear this news, thinking of your family, and what a great and talented man your father was…
June 30 at 9:14pm

Frank Coakley

Frank was one of the first people I met when I came to work at WGBH in 1981. He was tough, smart, funny and most importantly a good friend with a heart of gold. RIP brother, my thoughts go out to his family and his many friends and admirers.
June 30 at 9:17pm

Amy Tonkonogy

I am so sorry to hear this. Frank always made me smile. He had such dedication to Gbh and taught me so much. My thoughts to your entire family.
June 30 at 9:21pm

Sharon Corey Sleicher

My time at WGBH was a few years ago but I remember your father because he was always friendly, kind and fun to be around.
June 30 at 9:24pm

Bruce Bordett

Such sad news. Many happy memories of working with Frank and Greg. He is, and will be missed. This shot from the day the Pope came to Boston… Late 70’s
June 30 at 11:25pm

Marcia Hulley

So sad. Frank was a great friend and mentor to me — like so many others at wgbh. It was a delight working with him over the years. An amazing cameraman, an amazing man. My heartfelt condolences to his family.
July 1 at 12:17am

Sherylle Linton

Jones Frank was just awesome. I worked with him frequently back in my Say Brother days. I am profoundly sorry for your loss. May he rest in peace.
July 1 at 12:38am

Lo Hartnett

Whenever I saw frank behind the camera for pledge, I knew things were in good hands. He always made me smile.
July 1 at 5:38am

Russ Fortier

I’m so sad to hear about Frank. He was a wonderful professional. Attentive and pleasant, he was, as I recall, virtually error free as a cameraman on the shows I directed. Most notably, as others have mentioned was his camera (2) at Symphony Hall; a deceptively challenging position. I recall one broadcast in which Frank had to zoom back from a single shot of the concertmaster (first violin) to a cover shot of the entire orchestra over 32 (slow) measures of music; a devilishly long move. Perfectly done. So normal and routine for Frank to deliver that way.
July 1 at 7:56am

Jennifer Jordan

Love the shot of him shooting at the Kennedy School Forum! I remember him well from my days both at WGBH and directing the Forum. Class act and all around great guy.
July 1 at 9:28am

Elizabeth Lane

Thank you all so much for sharing your beautiful memories of my dad. It’s bringing us so much comfort hearing from people who loved my dad as much as we do.
July 1 at 9:56am

Syrl Silberman

I worked with Frank for 12 years at WGBH. He was truly one of the kindest people I’ve ever known and more often than not made difficult times in the studio less so. I could always count on him to do whatever was needed and do it well. I can honestly say that I loved him and fully understand how much you will miss him. I wish you comfort.
July 1 at 10:04am

Anne Sweeney

God bless your family. May Frank rest in peace.
July 1 at 10:23am

Jane Arsham

I had the pleasure of working with Frank in the “early” years 1968-80. He started a year after me and we had a great friendship. Frank laughed a lot (I can still hear him) and enjoyed both work and play. He loved to sing Irish songs and we joined him often at a pub in Norwood I think it was!! He was a talented camera man and always willing to pitch in and help out in anyway he could. I don’t remember him ever saying no when I asked (which was often). Although we lost touch after I left GBH, he remains in my heart. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
July 1 at 10:36am

Edye Baker

The auction volunteers loved Frank and the way he made them feel like stars!! MANY memories of him. Sincere condolences to you and your family.
July 1 at 12:14pm

Vladimir Stefanovic

My deepest condolences. Frank was really an awesome guy. RIP Frank.
July 1 at 1:45pm

Nora Sinclair

So sorry to hear! My sincere condolences. I loved working with Frank in the studio, always a pleasure.
July 1 at 2:00pm

Ben Mayerson

Literally on this day, I quoted one of the lessons Frank taught me. “I only move at one speed, and this is it.”

It wasn’t a statement of non cooperation. It was a declaration of pacing, proficiency, and calm. I recall that mantra often, from my teacher Frank Lane.
July 1 at 4:53pm

Susan Dangel

In my brain and heart, when I think of WGBH, I think Greg and Frank. Your father was one of a kind. All those Pops shows and how he made us laugh. So sorry for your loss.
July 1 at 11:46pm

Larry Lecain

I loved Frank. Kind, generous , welcoming,quick to share a good story. He seemed immune to the pressures of long lens camera work at Symphony Hall. Frank was willing to share his insight on the ironies of life, work and people he knew. I miss him.
July 2 at 7:03am

Christy George

I loved Frank, too. One moment at the Ten O’Clock News stands out: I covered John Lakian’s libel trial against the Boston Globe, and for five weeks GBH was the pool camera – a rarity to be so well staffed. So all the Boston TV stations were using video shot by Frank and Greg. And their reporters were blown away. Years of shooting the Pops had taught Greg and Frank how to follow the action seamlessly and gracefully. Their camerawork made the trial seem like a Hollywood movie. And when a much-lauded commercial station shooter filled in one day, all the reporters grumbled. They wanted Frank and Greg back! I was delighted our guys got the respect they deserved.
July 2 at 2:46pm

Elizabeth Lane

Love these stories!
July 2 at 2:48pm

Nancy Walker

The dynamic duo!!!
July 2 at 2:53pm

Mary Helen Doyle

Frank was always a bright light bouncing (in his big way!) through the engineering tape room downstairs at GBH. He always welcomed a quick fun chat, never really grouchy as I remember, despite whatever the day had been. I’m so sorry to hear that he has passed, I’ll never forget him.
July 2 at 9:49pm

Bernadette Yao

I am deeply sorry for your loss, Elizabeth. I send my sincere condolences to you and your family. I remember your father with great affection and I am so sad to hear of his passing. I always looked forward to seeing him since my childhood days on ZOOM, and through the years after college when I sang with the TFC, BSO & Pops at Symphony Hall, and during live pledge drives and auctions when I worked behind the scenes at WGBH. Years later, whenever I visited WGBH, he would greet me with that familiar grin, and share what was going on in the moment as if no time had passed. I will remember Frank and his kindness always.
21 hrs · Like ·

Don Quayle, 84, NPR’s first president

From Current — 4/23/2015

Don Quayle, NPR’s first president, dies at 84

Don QuayleDon Quayle, who got NPR off the ground as its first president in 1970, died April 17 of complications from brain surgery at a hospital in Silver Spring, Md., according to the Washington Post. He was 84.

Quayle kick-started NPR at a time when television was the innovative medium of the day, not radio. At the time, the presidency of NPR was a job “nobody particularly wanted,” said Jack Mitchell, Quayle’s first hire at NPR and a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Quayle’s vision for NPR was to provide “excellence and diversity to noncommercial radio,” he said in a 1971 Billboard article.

He did that, in part, Mitchell said, by acting as the “adult figure” at the network, hiring a “highly creative group of young people” that would shape the direction of NPR and go on to create All Things Considered under his tenure, which lasted until 1973.

“He had no great vision of what the programming should be . . . became a highly creative and fluid organization,” Mitchell said. “In the beginning, it could have been almost anything. He didn’t dictate anything. He allowed people to try things.”

“He provided the structure within which we could work effectively,” said Bill Siemering, who worked under Quayle as NPR’s first programming director, in an email. “He was patient during the first rocky months of starting All Things Considered and his trust that it would get better was invaluable.”

“He got going,” Mitchell said. “And given the very weak state of educational radio [at the time], just getting it going was amazing.”

NPR was “very fortunate that we had him as the first president,” Mitchell said.

Before getting tapped to lead NPR, Quayle worked for CPB not long after it was established by the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. Before that, he helped establish what would later become Utah Public Radio as a student at Utah State University in Logan. He then went on to be a program manager at WOSU in Columbus, Ohio, and station manager at WGBH in Boston, according to the Herald Journal. Before working at NPR, he also worked at the Eastern Educational Network.

After leaving NPR in 1973, he rejoined CPB as a senior vice present and went on to become vice president for administration at WETA in Arlington, Va., before retiring in 1989, according to the Post.

Mitchell described Quayle as “quite thoughtful and very warm.” “I always said, if you ever have a flat tire on the Pennsylvania Turnpike at night in the rain, give him a call,” he said. “He’ll come fix it.”

Quayle is preceded in death by his wife Yvonne Rich, the Post said, and is survived by five children: Sharla Hellie, Debra Quayle, Karen Hall, Kathleen Specht and Bryce Quayle; a sister; 13 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

From Susan Stamberg/NPR — 4/17/2015

The first president of National Public Radio has died. Don Quayle was 84 years old. He had a long career in public broadcasting — both television and radio. NPR’s Susan Stamberg reflects on his impact.

Don Quayle gave me my first radio job. It was the early ’60s and he was head of the Educational Radio Network — the precursor of NPR — a skinny little network of 12 East Coast stations that developed a daily drive-time news show. He hired me to help produce it. When this national network arose, he was an obvious choice to run it.

Don was principled, decent and astute. In the euphoric tumult of our first years, he navigated the choppy seas of building a public radio system. He knew NPR had to serve you, our listeners, above the competing needs of stations, boards and funders.

Putting the network’s first program, All Things Considered, on the air in 1971, he presided over a dedicated and scrappy staff, and always said his job was to build a structure in which creative people could flourish.

Today’s NPR goes far beyond the structure that Don worked to establish from 1970 to 1973. It’s now grown to 900-plus member stations — a giant leap from the original handful. And All Things Considered is the first of many programs NPR now produces. But the systems and sensibility he put in place (and yes, even some of the people) continue to flourish, thanks to his initial guidance.

Five years ago, Utah State University, his alma mater, presented Don with an honorary doctorate of humane letters for his “significant contributions” to public broadcasting. He was as thrilled about that as he was when he first saw the snazzy new Washington, D.C., headquarters in which we now work.

He was warm and kind in his enthusiasms. At the heart of them, in addition to his family, was his belief in the work you hear, here, every day.

Joe Day, 78, tenacious reporter

From the Boston Globe — March 15, 2015

After leaving the Providence Journal in 1970 to be a moderator and editor at WGBH-TV in Boston, Joe Day immediately earned respect for his insight and tenacity.

As a member of Channel 2’s “The Reporters” team, Mr. Day refused to take no for an answer that December when the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Division announced that several gasoline stations were selling the identical fuel at varying prices, but would not reveal which ones.

“I thought, ‘What the hell kind of consumer protection is that?’ ” Mr. Day told the Globe in 1971. In the month that followed, he called 18 gasoline companies, twice each, to ask if they were the offenders, and repeatedly asked the state when the names would be released.

“I, for one, intend to follow this story to the end,” Mr. Day told his viewers, and his persistence paid off when the state attorney general’s office announced the names.

Joe Day

Mr. Day, who later was a chief political and citizen affairs correspondent and editor at Boston’s WCVB-TV and WHDH-TV from 1973 to 1992, died March 8 after a heart attack in his winter home in Princeville, Kauai, in Hawaii. He was 78 and had lived in Santa Fe since leaving Boston.

“Joe was inspirational as a person and as a journalist, and there was a calm sense of mission about him,” said David Ropeik, one of Mr. Day’s former colleagues at Channel 5. “He wanted the most competitive beat at the time — politics and government — and he deserved it.”

Former WCVB-TV Channel 5 reporter and commentator Clark Booth called Mr. Day “a damn good newsman who was great meeting deadlines and a superb writer. He had an instinct for the soft underbelly of a story. There was a fundamental decency about him, and although he may have been the quietest guy in the room, he was most likely the smartest.”

The recipient of several awards, including New England Emmys for coverage of the Massachusetts Democratic Convention and the funeral of Connecticut Governor Ella Grasso, Mr. Day was the son of Alice (Alexander) and Price Day, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist at the Baltimore Sun.

“Joe had a curiosity about the people he covered, whether it was a presidential candidate or, later after moving to Santa Fe, telling the story of a parking lot attendant,” said his wife, Nancy. “He was still reporting until his death for our radio station in Kauai about the opening of a biofuel plant.”

Born in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Joseph Day grew up in Baltimore and graduated from Princeton University in 1958 with a bachelor’s degree in English.

His three brothers also worked as journalists, including his late sibling, Tony, an editorial page editor at the Los Angeles Times.

Mr. Day’s entry into newspaper work began with a bus ticket. “Joe had just returned from Army service in Germany,” his wife said, “and he wrote a letter to the editor of the Milwaukee Journal, who told him if he was ever in the area to drop in, with no promise of a job.”

When Mr. Day sent the letter, he was two years out of Princeton and back in Baltimore. He immediately hopped a bus to Milwaukee and was hired in 1960. Then, from 1963 to 1970, he was assistant state editor and a reporter at the Providence Journal.

“I think his family was surprised he made the move to television,” his wife said, “but it was something he wanted to try.” She added that he “felt that he would have an even stronger connection with the public.”

Mr. Day met Nancy Crichton, an artist, on the beach in Ocean City, Md., when she was a student at Ohio Wesleyan University. They married on Sept. 20, 1961. The couple and their children lived in a Colonial-era farmhouse in Marlborough when he worked in Boston.

“Joe was pensive and thoughtful in his interviewing, which was more conversational than confrontational,” recalled Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin. “It wasn’t show biz with him, but he made his point and never let you off the hook.”

Mr. Day’s award-winning reports ranged from documentaries on the deaths of asbestos workers in Massachusetts to safety concerns at Logan Airport, the return of a slain soldier from Vietnam, and the New England fisheries crisis.

Globe columnist Scot Lehigh was on the political beat for the Boston Phoenix when Mr. Day was covering the 1988 presidential campaign of Michael Dukakis for Channel 7.

“On the night of the returns, Joe went on the air and reported that Ohio had gone to George Bush and that there was no real path to the White House for Dukakis at that point,” Lehigh recalled. “He was the first local reporter to make the call, and that was Joe, way ahead of the pack.

“No matter what his assignment, he was persistent and fair and asked the tough questions when he had to, but never in an egotistical manner.”

Mr. Day left Boston and moved to Santa Fe to change his lifestyle, according to his son Matthew of Harvard.

“He felt the nature of the business was changing, and his brother Tom lived and worked there as a journalist, but what did not change was dad’s overriding interest in people from all walks of life,” Matthew said. “That defined his career and how he viewed the world.”

From 1993 through 1998, Mr. Day was an adjunct professor at the College of Santa Fe, where he advised the student newspaper. He also taught at the University of New Mexico from 1993 to 2000. He was a moderator and producer for KNME-TV, a PBS affiliate in Albuquerque, from 1994 to 2000, and he formed his own company, Daylight Productions, for which he was a documentary producer, writer, and narrator.

In addition to his wife, son Matthew, and brother, Mr. Day leaves another son, Peter of Corvallis, Ore.; a daughter, Sarah of Longmont, Colo.; another brother, James of Berkeley, Calif.; and seven grandchildren.

This summer, Mr. Day’s ashes will be spread off Block Island, R.I., one of his family’s favorite vacation destinations. A celebration of his life in Santa Fe will be announced.

In an interview last June with the Princeton Alumni Weekly, Mr. Day said that “journalism is good for my brain. I’m still curious.” Although his career at one point included getting to eat meals prepared by celebrity chef Julia Child when both were at Channel 2, he said that “what I’ve tried to do all along is to report about real people. I don’t call them ‘ordinary’ because nobody’s ordinary.”

More than a half-century after landing his first reporting job, he could still stay “I love this work,” and retained his belief in the profession.

“We need reporters — people to go out and try to find out what’s going on as best they can, so they can tell other people.”

Bob Wilson, Television Photographer


From the Boston Globe/Legacy.com

WILSON, Robert Nelson Of Cambridge, Tues., Aug. 26.

Devoted husband of Jacqueline (Oxley) Wilson. Beloved father of Tanya Robin Wilson and Justin Oxley Wilson and his wife Ameika Lumley Wilson. Beloved brother of Gary Wilson, Leila Jones, Bertha Alexander, Debra Wilson, and the late Arthur Wilson. Beloved grandfather of Jayla, Chayse, Gavin Wilson and Jayden Lumley. He also leaves a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Bob was a television photographer for WGBH and WCVB.

In lieu of flowers please donate to Wellesley METCO Program Scholarship at 50 Rice Street, Wellesley, MA 02481.

From Jim Boyd, via Olivia Tappan

My heart, thoughts and prayers are with Jackie Wilson and her family today.

We said good-bye yesterday to my long-time good friend Bob Wilson. Services were held at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Cambridge, MA followed by interment at Mt. Auburn Cemetery.

Bob Wilson was a news photographer at WGBH-TV and  WCVB Channel 5 Boston, a US Army Vietnam War era veteran and an avid horseman. His casket was carried by an elegant horse carriage to the cemetery where he received a fitting military salute. It was a heart-warming sendoff for a truly deserving man.

Good-bye Bob Wilson and thank you from the bottom of my heart for the innumerable ways in which you enriched my life.

Otto Piene, 85, New Television Workshop Video Artist

From the New York Times

piene-obit-1-superJumboOtto Piene, a German painter and sculptor known for his experiments in kinetic art and for working at the junction of art, nature and technology, died on Thursday in Berlin, where he was attending the opening of a retrospective of his work. He was 86 and had homes in Düsseldorf and Groton, Mass…

In 1957, along with Heinz Mack, Mr. Piene (pronounced PEEN-uh) founded the Zero Group, a collection of artists dedicated to redefining art in the aftermath of World War II. Through the mid-1960s the group attracted adherents from Japan and the Americas as well as Europe. Their work — to be celebrated in an exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York this fall — anticipated developments in land art, Minimalism, Conceptual art and performance art.

From “The Medium is the Medium: the Convergence of Video, Art, and Television at WGBH (1969)

On March 23rd 1969 Boston’s public television station WGBH broadcast a program titled The Medium is the Medium. The program was a half-hour long compilation of short videos by six artists. The six pieces ranged from electronically manipulated imagery set to the music of the Beatles to an attempt at communication between four separate locations through audio-visual technology…

The Medium is the Medium was the result of the pairing of artists with engineers. This pairing was the brainchild of the Rockefeller Foundation, which decided to bring these two together in what was the Artists-in-Television program. Founded in 1967 it gave seed grants to two public broadcasting stations, WGBH in Boston and KQED in San Francisco. These grants enabled the stations to begin residency programs matching artists with members oftheir production staffs. Several of the artists in the program had made films but most were coming to this type of time-based art work for the first time…

The six artists in The Medium is the Medium came to the technology with varied degrees of experience. Some of them had a background in electronics such as Thomas Tadlock and Nam June Paik. Others had a history of making kinetic sculptures and multi- media pieces such as James Seawright, Aldo Tambellini and Otto Piene…

Of all the artists involved Piene was the one to see the potential of televising art. He saw the ability of broadcasting to bring art to a larger group of people. His video Black Gate Cologne (made with Aldo Tambellini) stands as the very first broadcast of video art in the world. Like the WGBH video it was also a event that took place live in the studio and recorded in its entirety for future broadcast…

Following the show’s broadcast, the six artists continued working, most of them leaving video technology behind. Paik alone continued to experiment and push the boundaries of the medium in both televisual and the sculptural directions… Piene continued teaching at MIT and became the director of the Center for Advanced Visual Studies in 1974.

Otto Piene: “The greatest service technology could do for art would be to enable the artist to reach a proliferating audience, perhaps through TV, or to create tools for some new monumental art that would bring art to as many men today as in the middle ages.”



Kenneth Anderson, 75, lighting director and production manager

Excerpts from the Miami Herald

Kenneth AndersonBefore Kiss, no rock group had ever put quite as much emphasis on the outrageous while onstage.

It was up to Kenneth Anderson to make those wild antics happen.

Anderson, who died of cancer at 75 on Dec. 15 at his Hallandale Beach home, was vice president of production at Aucoin Management in New York and helped design Kiss’ stage productions from 1976 to 1982.

This was the era when the hard rock foursome’s theatrical shows were evolving at a crazy, scary pace. A fire-breathing bassist. A levitating drum set. Flashing lightning bolts. Confetti rockets.

“Don’t try to describe a Kiss concert if you’ve never seen it,” South Florida troubadour Jimmy Buffett once quipped in his 1978 tune, Mañana. He was clearly referencing Anderson’s stage designs. These came from ideas that were coming fast and furious from band leaders Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley…

“Ken Anderson was dedicated to our cause and his skill was in evidence to anyone who saw our stages during those years,” Simmons and Stanley posted on the Kiss website.

Anderson was born in Melrose, MA. One of his first gigs was as a lighting director at Boston’s WGBH for its signature series, The French Chef starring Julia Child. He met Bill Aucoin there, Kiss’ former manager who helped catapult the band after its formation in 1972. Anderson also worked on Sesame Street, its spin-off, The Electric Company, and stage production work with Jesus Christ Superstar and Oh, Calcutta!


Mike Foti, former Director of Engineering


The WGBH community mourns with deep sadness the passing of Mike Foti, former Director of Engineering, who left ’GBH last June after 14 years to become VP of Engineering at Oregon Public Broadcasting. Mike died on Thurs, 6/12 after a brief illness. “This is difficult news at any time,” say WGBH President Jon Abbott and COO Ben Godley, “but doubly painful in the wake of Valerie’s death just days ago.

Mike’s contributions to WGBH modernized systems and launched new services, including centralcasting and the integration of New Hampshire Public Television’s master control within WGBH’s operations. Our sincere condolences go to his family and to his many close WGBH friends and colleagues.” Ed Chuk, Director of WGBH Studios, knew Mike for more than 20 years. “Mike left a positive mark on broadcasting and WGBH in particular,” Ed says. “He worked tirelessly to transition WGBH (which he loved) to our new technical facility in the years preceding our move from Western Avenue. It was a major accomplishment for Mike and his engineering team when he flipped the switch that day and WGBH and WGBX were officially broadcasting from Guest Street. He was a thoughtful colleague and friend and we will miss him.”

Mike’s family is planning a memorial service in the Boston area sometime in August (stay tuned to QuickNooz). In the meantime, condolences can be sent to Mike’s wife, Debbie Foti, 14826 SE Misty Drive, 108, Happy Valley, OR 97086. Farewell, friend!

Valerie Gunderson, 59, budget director

From Jon Abbott

gundersonDear WGBH colleagues,

It is with great sadness that we share the terrible news that our colleague Valerie Gunderson has passed away. It came as a dreadful shock when we learned of her death on Saturday. It’s our understanding that she died in her sleep. She left us far too soon at the age of 59.

Valerie was a key member of the ’GBH family for more than 25 years—for the last many years as Director of Budget Operations. All those who worked with her know what a special person she was. She was passionate about WGBH and took enormous pride in working here. Her belief in ’GBH’s impact and accomplishments came through in everything she did. She built a wide network of friends and admirers at every level and in every ’GBH department. She was thoughtful, witty, whip smart (as she proved when her team shared the trophy just weeks ago at the WGBH spelling bee) and, colleagues recall, always there with a comforting shoulder. She was known for wearing a shade of purple every day. To speak of her in the past tense is simply surreal.

Valerie played a critical role in stewarding our annual budget planning and forecasting, monitoring all budgets and ably assuring that the Foundation finished every fiscal year on target. We relied on her leadership in helping guide and track our special R&D investments on new projects, supporting innovation with our editorial teams.

Valerie came to WGBH after a tour of what she called “off-off-off-Broadway” acting, while also working for Columbia Pictures. Her stories from that experience were legendary and hilarious. She left the stage and New York to focus on a public service MBA at BU with the specific goal of landing a job at WGBH. In fact, she wrote her Master’s thesis on WGBH and its impact on the state and the country. She called ’GBH her dream destination and knew it was the place for her. And it was. Valerie started off in the Budget Office, then served as Business Manager for the launch of The World until returning to head up the Budget team.

Valerie loved France and traveled there often with her husband Ted. They enjoyed exploring Beaune and had a large community of friends there. She was a very proud Hoosier, growing up in Fort Wayne, attending Indiana University in Bloomington, and returning frequently to visit family and friends. She and her husband made their home in Harwich, but Valerie kept an apartment in Brighton to avoid the daily commute. She volunteered her time and financial skills with the Brighton Main Streets program.

In times like these, our sense of community is heightened as together we try to make sense of the tremendous loss of someone so vibrant, in the prime of her life. Valerie’s family is planning a celebration of her life on the Cape, and we’re planning a gathering here at ’GBH where we can share our remembrances; QuickNooz will advise when that’s been scheduled. Condolences may be sent to Valerie’s husband (Ted Osiecki, 2 Locust Grove Rd, Harwich, MA 02645) and, in lieu of flowers, her family welcomes donations to her favorite charities: Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston (mspca.org) or HopeHealth Hospice in Cape Cod (hopehealthco.org).

We can honor Valerie by showing special kindness to each other, and especially to her closest associates, as we grapple with this sudden and untimely loss.

In shared sadness,

Jon, Ben, and Vinay

Jon Abbott, WGBH CEO and President
Ben Godley, COO and Executive Vice President
Vinay Mehra, Chief Financial Officer