Al Primo

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Albert T. Primo (born 1935) is a television news executive who was credited with creating the Eyewitness News format.

Biography[edit]

He was born July 3, 1935 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He attended North Catholic Boys School and Perry High School,graduating in 1953, the University of Pittsburgh and graduated in 1958.[1]

He began in the business in 1953 as a mail boy at WDTV in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, moving up the ranks over 12 years as the station switched dial positions (from channel 3 to channel 2), owners (from the DuMont Television Network to Westinghouse Broadcasting) and call letters (to KDKA-TV), working as news writer, cameraman, reporter, anchorman and news director.[1]

In 1965 he was promoted to News Director Philadelphia's KYW-TV where he launched the Eyewitness News format (the name itself had been used for some years before that by Westinghouse's TV stations for its local newscasts, and in fact was first used by KYW itself in 1959 when it was based in Cleveland, Ohio), and in 1968 he took the format with him to his new job at WABC-TV, the ABC outlet in New York City. He refined the Eyewitness News format at WABC. hiring minority and women reporters whom he placed in prominent positions in the newscast (including the addition of "on-camera exchanges between anchors and on-set reporters which a Chicago media critic dubbed: happy talk"), and the Eyewitness News name and format radiated across the United States from here.[1]

He also chose the musical score from the Tar Sequence in the movie Cool Hand Luke (composed by Lalo Schifrin) as the news theme to WABC's Eyewitness News, a move which also exposed many other TV stations in the United States (and by extension, their viewers) to Schifrin's work.

At WABC-TV, Primo assembled the anchor duo of Roger Grimsby and Bill Beutel, which garnered high ratings for 16 years until 1986, when Grimsby was let go from the station.

In 2002, Primo launched Teen Kids News as a project to give young people an opportunity to develop an interest in the news industry through delivering news and information to their peers. The program is starting its 10th year, seen on 220 TV stations covering 95% of USA, 1000 locations in 175 countries via American Forces Network AND sent by PBS satellite and streamed on Internet to 12,600 schools each week.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Michael D. Murray (1999). Encyclopedia of television news. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 197. ISBN 1-57356-108-8. As principal architect of local television's Eyewitness News, Primo established techniques that became the standard at both local and national levels. Born in 1935 and raised in Pittsburgh, Primo received his bachelor of arts degree in ... 

Further reading[edit]

  • Powers, Ron. The Newscasters: The News Business As Show Business (revised edition). New York, Leisure Books, 1980 (pp. 193-203).

External links[edit]