Network builder Jack McBride dies

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One of public broadcasting’s master builders, Nebraska’s Jack McBride, died Monday from complications of lung surgery, the Lincoln Journal Star reported. He was 82. McBride was the first employee of the University of Nebraska’s TV department in 1953, put KUON on-air in 1954, won funding for a nine-station NET network in 1963, and added radio, a national school-video distributor, an intensive experiment with interactive videodiscs and many other ventures, serving until retirement until 1996. In 1990, NET was the first state net to lease a satellite channel to serve schools; today it has 303 downlinks across the state, according to the network. “There wasn’t anyone better at looking into the future,” said longtime program chief Ron Hull. “Jack was an absolute dynamo.” Regional network chief Jim Fellows, presenting a Carpe Diem award to McBride, observed: “If Jack McBride didn’t see an opportunity to seize, he created it and then seized it.” A celebration of McBride’s life is set for Friday, Aug. 1, 1 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Lincoln.