Stuart Martin, Founder of WCAX, Dies

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(Host) The co-founder of WCAX television has died. Stuart Martin was 91. The station signed on the air more than half a century ago, and remains in the Martin family.

VPR’s Steve Zind reports.

(Zind) In 1954 Vermont was the only state in the union without a local television station. Stuart Martin changed that. As a scientist and engineer, Martin, whose friends and employees called him Red, believed the new medium had a future. He was right. It took just a year for WCAX to start earning a profit. Even after stepping aside from the day to day operations Martin remained a daily presence at the station until shortly before his death.

(Parsons) “There was a sign in his office that said, ‘Be reasonable, do it my way. And he meant it.”

(Zind) WCAX News Director Marselis Parsons says Martin’s legacy is the station’s hour-long evening newscast. Parsons says Martin insisted that local news be thoughtful and in-depth.

Martin made no secret of his conservative views and was accused of letting them influence the station’s news operation. But Parsons says Martin never dictated story selection or editorial policy.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Steve Zind.

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