Frank Stanton
Frank Nicholas Stanton (March 20, 1908 – December 24, 2006) was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

Broadcasting is the distribution of audio and video content to a dispersed audience via any audio visual medium. Receiving parties may include the general public or a relatively large subset of thereof...

 executive who served as the president of CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

 between 1946 and 1971 and then vice chairman until 1973. He also served as the chairman of the Rand Corporation from 1961 until 1967.

Along with William S. Paley
William S. Paley
William S. Paley was the chief executive who built Columbia Broadcasting System from a small radio network into one of the foremost radio and television network operations in the United States.-Early life:...

, Stanton is credited with the significant growth of CBS into a communications powerhouse. He was also known for his keen sense of corporate style, that ranged from the standards he espoused as a broadcasting executive, to the design of everything from the company's current headquarters (Black Rock
CBS Building
The CBS Building in New York City, also known as Black Rock, is the headquarters of CBS Corporation. The building, opened in 1965, was designed by Eero Saarinen. It is located at 51 West 52nd Street, at the corner of Sixth Avenue . The 38 story building is tall and measures approximately 872,000...

) to corporate stationery.

Early life

Stanton was born March 20, 1908 in Muskegon, Michigan
Muskegon, Michigan
Muskegon is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 38,401. The city is the county seat of Muskegon County...

 to Helen Josephine Schmidt and Frank Cooper Stanton. He attended Stivers School for the Arts
Stivers School for the Arts
Stivers School for the Arts is a magnet school in the Dayton City Schools in Dayton, Ohio, USA, located in the St. Anne's Hill Historic District neighborhood. It is a public middle- and high school that focuses on education in the visual and performing arts. U.S...

 then just Stivers High School in Dayton, Ohio
Dayton, Ohio
Dayton is the 6th largest city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the county seat of Montgomery County, the fifth most populous county in the state. The population was 141,527 at the 2010 census. The Dayton Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 841,502 in the 2010 census...

. He then attended Ohio Wesleyan University
Ohio Wesleyan University
Ohio Wesleyan University is a private liberal arts college in Delaware, Ohio, United States. It was founded in 1842 by Methodist leaders and Central Ohio residents as a nonsectarian institution, and is a member of the Ohio Five — a consortium of Ohio liberal arts colleges...

 in Delaware, Ohio
Delaware, Ohio
The City of Delaware is a city in and the county seat of Delaware County in the United States state of Ohio. Delaware was founded in 1808 and was incorporated in 1816. It is located near the center of Ohio, is about north of Columbus, and is part of the Columbus, Ohio Metropolitan Area...

, receiving a B.A.
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 in 1930. He married his childhood sweetheart, Ruth Stephenson, in 1931. He taught for one year in the manual arts department of a high school in Dayton, and then attended Ohio State University
Ohio State University
The Ohio State University, commonly referred to as Ohio State, is a public research university located in Columbus, Ohio. It was originally founded in 1870 as a land-grant university and is currently the third largest university campus in the United States...

, from where he received his Ph.D.
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated as Ph.D., PhD, D.Phil., or DPhil , in English-speaking countries, is a postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities...

 in 1935. He also held a diploma from the American Board of Professional Psychology. His doctoral thesis was entitled A Critique of Present Methods and a New Plan for Studying Radio Listening Behavior; for his research, he invented a device that would would make a reliable, automatic record of radio listening. Soon after earning his Ph.D., Stanton became the third employee in the CBS research department. By 1942 he was a vice president of CBS and a fellow of the American Association of Applied Psychology, as well as a member of the American Psychological Association
American Psychological Association
The American Psychological Association is the largest scientific and professional organization of psychologists in the United States. It is the world's largest association of psychologists with around 154,000 members including scientists, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. The APA...

, the American Statistical Association
American Statistical Association
The American Statistical Association , is the main professional US organization for statisticians and related professions. It was founded in Boston, Massachusetts on November 27, 1839, and is the second oldest, continuously operating professional society in the United States...

, and the American Marketing Association
American Marketing Association
The American Marketing Association is a professional association for marketers. As of 2008 it had approximately 40,000 members. There are 76 professional chapters and 250 collegiate chapters across the United States....

; he was on the editorial board of the journal Sociometry
Social Psychology Quarterly
Social Psychology Quarterly is a peer-reviewed academic journal that publishes papers in the field of social psychology. The journal's editors-in-chief are Karen A. Hegtvedt and Cathryn Johnson...

. During World War II, he consulted for the Office of War Information, the Secretary of War
United States Secretary of War
The Secretary of War was a member of the United States President's Cabinet, beginning with George Washington's administration. A similar position, called either "Secretary at War" or "Secretary of War," was appointed to serve the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation...

, and the Department of the Navy
United States Department of the Navy
The Department of the Navy of the United States of America was established by an Act of Congress on 30 April 1798, to provide a government organizational structure to the United States Navy and, from 1834 onwards, for the United States Marine Corps, and when directed by the President, of the...

, while serving as a vice president at CBS. He was selected as the administrator-designate of the Emergency Communications Agency; part of a secret group created by President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 in 1958 that would serve in the event of a national emergency that became known as the Eisenhower Ten
Eisenhower Ten
The Eisenhower Ten or E-10 were a group of U.S. citizens who were secretly tasked by President Eisenhower in 1958 to serve as administrators in the event of a national emergency. There were actually nine positions, but one administrator-designate resigned and was replaced...


Televised presidential debates

Stanton organized the first televised presidential debate
United States presidential election debates
During presidential elections in the United States, it has become customary for the main candidates to engage in a debate...

 in American history. After an eight-year effort, he finally managed to get the Federal Communications Commission
Federal Communications Commission
The Federal Communications Commission is an independent agency of the United States government, created, Congressional statute , and with the majority of its commissioners appointed by the current President. The FCC works towards six goals in the areas of broadband, competition, the spectrum, the...

 (FCC) to suspend Section 315 of the Communications Act of 1934
Communications Act of 1934
The Communications Act of 1934 is a United States federal law, enacted as Public Law Number 416, Act of June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, by the 73rd Congress, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, codified as Chapter 5 of Title 47 of the United States Code, et seq. The Act replaced the...

 for the election in 1960
United States presidential election, 1960
The United States presidential election of 1960 was the 44th American presidential election, held on November 8, 1960, for the term beginning January 20, 1961, and ending January 20, 1965. The incumbent president, Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, was not eligible to run again. The Republican Party...

 to test a televised debate. The reason that Section 315 needed to be suspended was because it stated that equal air time must be given to all the candidates. The first debate was held and televised in the CBS studio in Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, with candidates John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

 and Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

. After the debate, Stanton met with Richard J. Daley
Richard J. Daley
Richard Joseph Daley served for 21 years as the mayor and undisputed Democratic boss of Chicago and is considered by historians to be the "last of the big city bosses." He played a major role in the history of the Democratic Party, especially with his support of John F...

, the mayor of Chicago, who decided that after seeing the debate he would tell his men to go all out for Kennedy.

The debates, however, ceased after the 1960 election, as Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

 avoided debating in 1964
United States presidential election, 1964
The United States presidential election of 1964 was held on November 3, 1964. Incumbent President Lyndon B. Johnson had come to office less than a year earlier following the assassination of his predecessor, John F. Kennedy. Johnson, who had successfully associated himself with Kennedy's...

, and Nixon, widely perceived to have made a poor impression on television viewers in 1960, declined to debate in 1968
United States presidential election, 1968
The United States presidential election of 1968 was the 46th quadrennial United States presidential election. Coming four years after Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson won in a historic landslide, it saw Johnson forced out of the race and Republican Richard Nixon elected...

 and in 1972
United States presidential election, 1972
The United States presidential election of 1972 was the 47th quadrennial United States presidential election. It was held on November 7, 1972. The Democratic Party's nomination was eventually won by Senator George McGovern, who ran an anti-war campaign against incumbent Republican President Richard...

. Thus televised presidential debates did not resume until 1976
United States presidential election, 1976
The United States presidential election of 1976 followed the resignation of President Richard Nixon in the wake of the Watergate scandal. It pitted incumbent President Gerald Ford, the Republican candidate, against the relatively unknown former governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter, the Democratic...

, when incumbent president Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford
Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

, perceiving he was behind in the polls, agreed to debate challenger Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...


Broadcast industry visionary

Stanton was revered both as a spokesman for the broadcast industry before Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

, and his passionate support of broadcast journalism and journalists. Former CBS News President Richard S. Salant
Richard S. Salant
Richard S. Salant was a CBS executive from 1952 and president of the CBS News division from 1961-64 and 1966-79.-External links:*...

 – widely considered the greatest-ever chief of a network news division – himself praised Stanton as a corporate mentor and statesman.

While Edward R. Murrow
Edward R. Murrow
Edward Roscoe Murrow, KBE was an American broadcast journalist. He first came to prominence with a series of radio news broadcasts during World War II, which were followed by millions of listeners in the United States and Canada.Fellow journalists Eric Sevareid, Ed Bliss, and Alexander Kendrick...

's 1958 speech before the Radio and Television News Directors Association
Radio and Television News Directors Association
The Radio Television Digital News Association , formerly the Radio-Television News Directors Association , is a United States-based membership organization of radio, television and online news directors, producers, executives and educators...

 is often praised for its call for a deeper commitment among broadcasters to public service, Stanton in May 1959 (speaking before his graduate alma mater, Ohio State) also voiced his own commitment to public affairs. He promised that the following year, CBS would air a frequent prime-time public-affairs series, a series which later became CBS Reports. A few months later, in an October 1959 speech before the same RTNDA that Murrow had addressed in 1958, Stanton promised there would be no repeat of the program deceptions embodied by the quiz show scandals
Quiz show scandals
The American quiz show scandals of the 1950s were a series of revelations that contestants of several popular television quiz shows were secretly given assistance by the show's producers to arrange the outcome of a supposedly fair competition....


Controversial documentary

As president of CBS, Stanton's greatest battle with the government occurred in 1971, and focused on just this parallel to print press rights. The controversy surrounded "The Selling of the Pentagon," a CBS Reports documentary, which exposed the huge expenditure of public funds, partly illegal, to promote militarism
Militarism is defined as: the belief or desire of a government or people that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it aggressively to defend or promote national interests....

. The confrontation raised the issue of whether television news programming deserved protection under the First Amendment
First Amendment to the United States Constitution
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering...


The program came under intense criticism from two men who appeared on the program, from the House of Representatives, other media and some prominent politicians. Daniel Henkins, Undersecretary of Defense for Public Relations, charged that statements from his interview with Roger Mudd about his work had been doctored, as did Col. John MacNeil, who accused CBS of rearranging his comments in a speech he gave about the situation in Southeast Asia. The Investigations Subcommittee of the House Commerce Committee subpoenaed CBS's outtakes to determine whether or not distortion had taken place. Meanwhile, critics at the Washington Post and Time magazine, while not taking issue with the thesis of "Selling" that the Pentagon was engaging in propaganda, objected to the editing techniques employed in its production. The program was also criticized by Vice President Spiro Agnew and Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird.

Against threat of jail, Stanton refused the subpoena from the House Commerce Committee
United States House Committee on Energy and Commerce
The Committee on Energy and Commerce is one of the oldest standing committees of the United States House of Representatives. Established in 1795, it has operated continuously—with various name changes and jurisdictional changes—for more than 200 years...

 ordering him to provide copies of the outtakes and scripts from the documentary. He claimed that such materials are protected by the freedom of the press guaranteed by the First Amendment. Stanton observed that if such subpoena actions were allowed, there would be a "chilling effect" upon broadcast journalism
Broadcast journalism
Broadcast journalism is the field of news and journals which are "broadcast", that is, published by electrical methods, instead of the older methods, such as printed newspapers and posters. Broadcast methods include radio , television , and, especially recently, the Internet generally...


For his efforts in that situation, Stanton was awarded one of three personal Peabody Awards (the others coming in 1959 and 1960). He also shared two other Peabodys that were awarded to CBS as a network.

Color television

Stanton led the fight for color television
Color television
Color television is part of the history of television, the technology of television and practices associated with television's transmission of moving images in color video....

. On June 25, 1951, Stanton appeared on an hour-long special, Premiere, with Robert Alda
Robert Alda
Robert Alda was an American actor. He was the father of actors Alan Alda and Antony Alda.-Life and career:...

, Faye Emerson
Faye Emerson
Faye Margaret Emerson was an American film actress and television interviewer, known as "The First Lady of Television". She acted in many Warner Brothers films beginning in 1941...

, Ed Sullivan
Ed Sullivan
Edward Vincent "Ed" Sullivan was an American entertainment writer and television host, best known as the presenter of the TV variety show The Ed Sullivan Show. The show was broadcast from 1948 to 1971 , which made it one of the longest-running variety shows in U.S...

, Arthur Godfrey
Arthur Godfrey
Arthur Morton Godfrey was an American radio and television broadcaster and entertainer who was sometimes introduced by his nickname, The Old Redhead...

, William S. Paley
William S. Paley
William S. Paley was the chief executive who built Columbia Broadcasting System from a small radio network into one of the foremost radio and television network operations in the United States.-Early life:...

 and others to introduce the CBS color sequential system of color TV. The CBS system was not compatible with existing black-and-white TV sets, and the FCC ultimately chose the RCA
RCA Corporation, founded as the Radio Corporation of America, was an American electronics company in existence from 1919 to 1986. The RCA trademark is currently owned by the French conglomerate Technicolor SA through RCA Trademark Management S.A., a company owned by Technicolor...

 system of broadcasting color TV.

Television business controversies

Also in 1951, Stanton created an office to review the political leanings of CBS employees during the blacklist
A blacklist is a list or register of entities who, for one reason or another, are being denied a particular privilege, service, mobility, access or recognition. As a verb, to blacklist can mean to deny someone work in a particular field, or to ostracize a person from a certain social circle...

 maintained by the TV networks. Good Night, and Good Luck (2005
2005 in film
- Highest-grossing films :Please note that following the tradition of the English-language film industry, these are the top-grossing films that were first released in the United States in 2005...

), the movie portraying this era directed by George Clooney
George Clooney
George Timothy Clooney is an American actor, film director, producer, and screenwriter. For his work as an actor, he has received two Golden Globe Awards and an Academy Award...

, left Stanton out of the film as a character, partly because Stanton was still living and might have objected to his portrayal.

Stanton played a role in the infamous controversy involving Arthur Godfrey
Arthur Godfrey
Arthur Morton Godfrey was an American radio and television broadcaster and entertainer who was sometimes introduced by his nickname, The Old Redhead...

, CBS's top money-earner in the early 1950s. Godfrey insisted that the cast members of two of his three CBS shows, a group of singers known as the "Little Godfreys," refrain from hiring managers. When one, Julius LaRosa, hired a manager following a minor dispute with Godfrey, the star consulted with Stanton, who suggested he release the popular LaRosa, then a rising star, on the air – just as he'd hired him on the air in 1951. On October 19, 1953, Godfrey fired LaRosa on the air, without LaRosa's knowing it was coming. The move caused an enormous backlash against Godfrey. Stanton later told Godfrey biographer Arthur Singer, author of the book Arthur Godfrey: The Adventures of an American Broadcaster, that "Maybe (the recommendation) was a mistake."

When William Golden
William Golden
William Golden is considered to be one of the pioneers of American graphic design. He is best known for his work at Columbia Broadcasting System, starting in the CBS Radio promotion department and culminating in his tenure as creative director of advertising and sales promotion for CBS Television...

 tried to prepare a new logo
A logo is a graphic mark or emblem commonly used by commercial enterprises, organizations and even individuals to aid and promote instant public recognition...

 a season after the famous "eye symbol" he had drawn became the logo for CBS's television network in 1951, Stanton said, "Just when you're beginning to be bored by what you've done is when it's beginning to be noticed by your audience" and the decision stuck.

Red Cross volunteer and chair

Dr. Stanton served for many years as a Red Cross volunteer, concentrating on public information and fundraising. After retiring from CBS, he was appointed Chairman of the American National Red Cross by United States President Richard M. Nixon in 1973, serving in that capacity until 1979.

Death and legacy

Stanton died in his sleep at his home in Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

, Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

 on December 24, 2006, at the age of 98.

The Frank Stanton Studios in Los Angeles house American Public Media
American Public Media
American Public Media is the second largest producer of public radio programs in the United States of America after NPR. Its non-profit parent, American Public Media Group, also owns and operates radio stations in Minnesota, California, and Florida. Its station brands are Minnesota Public Radio,...

's Marketplace
Marketplace (radio program)
Marketplace is a radio program that focuses on business, the economy, and events that influence them. Hosted by Kai Ryssdal, the show is produced and distributed by American Public Media, in association with the University of Southern California...


The Harvard School of Public Health
Harvard School of Public Health
The Harvard School of Public Health is one of the professional graduate schools of Harvard University, located in the Longwood Area of the Boston, Massachusetts neighborhood of Mission Hill, which is next to Harvard Medical School. HSPH is considered a significant school focusing on health in the...

 established the Frank Stanton Directorship of the Center for Health Communication, with Dr. Jay Winsten
Jay Winsten
Jay Winsten is an associate dean at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Frank Stanton Director of the School's . He is best known for his work in social marketing, spearheading high-profile national social campaigns on designated driving, youth violence, and youth mentoring...

 as the incumbent.

The philanthropic Stanton Foundation was created upon his death.

External links

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