Robert Lewis Shayon

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Robert Lewis Shayon
Born (1912-08-15)August 15, 1912
Died June 28, 2008(2008-06-28) (aged 95)
Frankfort, Kentucky
Cause of death Pneumonia
Spouse(s) Sheila Russell (?-1983)
Nash Cox (m. 1984)

Robert Lewis Shayon (August 15, 1912 – June 28, 2008) was a writer and producer for WOR and for the CBS Radio in New York City. He was also a teacher at the Annenberg School for Communication and the University of Pennsylvania.[1]


He was born in Brooklyn on August 15, 1912. His mother died in 1918 when he was 6, and his father, who was an insurance salesman, later married a woman who had her own children. By the late 1920s, he was homeless and sleeping on park benches. He took odd jobs in theaters and occasionally he read poetry on the radio. There he met the Australian opera singer Leah Frances Russell (1891–1983), who became his mentor and benefactor. She introduced him to her daughter, Sheila Russell, whom he later married. They were married for 47 years, until her death in 1983. Shayon died on June 28, 2008 in Frankfort, Kentucky.[2]


  • The Eagle's Brood[3]

Books authored[edit]

  • Interaction: television public affairs programming at the community level (1960)
  • Open to criticism (1971)
  • The Crowd-catchers; Introducing Television (1973)


  1. ^ "Robert Lewis Shayon". Waymark Press. Retrieved 2008-06-27. Robert Lewis (Bob) Shayon spent fourteen years writing, directing, and producing programs for WOR-Mutual in New York and for the CBS Radio Network. While at CBS, he worked closely in the 1940s with Edward. R. Murrow. He pioneered television shows promoting grassroots democracy such as The Whole Town's Talking (similar to today's town meetings on television). He was the first television critic for the Christian Science Monitor and spent more than twenty years as media critic for Saturday Review magazine. His book, Television and Our Children, was the first analysis of the subject. He is also the author of The Crowd Catchers — Introducing Television and Open to Criticism, a selection of his media columns analyzed in light of his critical theory. For twenty-five years he taught graduate students at The Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, and has lectured on telecommunications in the United States, Europe, Israel, and Japan.
  2. ^ Weber, Bruce (July 18, 2008). "Robert Lewis Shayon, 95, Is Dead; Elevated Radio". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-19. Robert Lewis Shayon, who wrote and produced groundbreaking radio programs in the 1940s, including the "You Are There" series for CBS, and who later became a longtime television critic for The Saturday Review and an Ivy League professor — all without a college education of his own — died at his home in Frankfort, Ky., on June 28. He was 95. The cause was pneumonia, said his wife, Nash Cox.
  3. ^ "Between the Ears". Time. March 17, 1947. Retrieved 2008-06-27. The Eagle's Brood was worth every nickel it cost. It was written by CBS Writer-Director Robert Lewis Shayon, 32, after a 9,000-mile, $2,000 coast-to-coast tour of U.S. slums and prisons. "What I saw," says Shayon, "hit me between the eyes." His script, as radio rarely does, hit listeners between the ears.