Metromedia's John Kluge Dies At 95
September 8, 2010 at 3:58 PM (PT)
JOHN KLUGE, who built METROMEDIA into one of the largest media companies in AMERICA in the 1960's through 1980's, died TODAY (9/8) in CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA at 95.
KLUGE, born in GERMANY, came to the UNITED STATES at age 10 and worked on a FORD assembly line and as VP/Sales Mgr. at OTTEN BROTHERS before buying WGAY/SILVER SPRING-WASHINGTON for $15,000 in 1946, which he owned until 1959. At the same time, he made millions with a FRITOS franchise in NEW ENGLAND and food brokerage in BALTIMORE and bought radio stations in ORLANDO, ST. LOUIS, PITTSBURGH, BUFFALO, and NASHVILLE.
KLUGE bought an interest in the mid-50's in METROPOLITAN BROADCASTING COMPANY, the firm founded from the ashes of the DUMONT TELEVISION NETWORK and which owned WABD (TV)/NEW YORK (now WNYW-TV) and WTTG (TV)/WASHINGTON. He became Chairman and largest stockholder in 1958 and expanded the company, which became METROMEDIA in 1961, into radio and outdoor advertising, and entertainment ventures like the ICE CAPADES, METROMEDIA PRODUCERS CORP., METROMEDIA RECORDS, and the HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS.
METROMEDIA sold its owned-and-operated TV stations to RUPERT MURDOCH's 20TH CENTURY FOX in 1986, providing the basis for the FOX television network. METROMEDIA continued as a telecommunications and restaurant company after the FOX sale and liquidation of most of the company's broadcasting and entertainment assets, including selling off the radio stations, in the late 80's; KLUGE also owned 69% of ORION PICTURES, served on the board of several companies, and was a noted philanthropist.
The METROMEDIA radio group included WNEW-A and WNEW-F/NEW YORK, KLAC-A and KMET/LOS ANGELES, WMET/CHICAGO, KNEW-A and KSAN/SAN FRANCISCO, KRLD-A and KAFM/DALLAS, WIP-A and WMMR/PHILADELPHIA, WASH/WASHINGTON, WOMC/DETROIT, KJR-A/SEATTLE, WWBA-A and WWBA-F/TAMPA, WCBM-A and WCBM-F/BALTIMORE, KHOW-A/DENVER, WHK-A and WMMS/CLEVELAND, and KMBC-A and KMBC-F/KANSAS CITY.