Robert M. Reed, first g.m. of Hawaii’s public TV network, 79

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Maxine and Bob Reed entertain at the Public Broadcasting Reunion in 1991. (Photo: Steve Behrens)

Maxine and Bob Reed entertain at the Public Broadcasting Reunion in 1991. (Photo: Steve Behrens)

Robert M. Reed, the founding manager of Hawaii’s public TV network who became a publisher and an author, died of respiratory failure Sept. 17, 2011, in Winter Park, Fla. He was 79.

He started the Hawaii Educational Television Network in 1962 and served as its g.m. and an assistant professor at the University of Hawaii. In a 20-year career in public television, he also served as g.m. of KUED in Salt Lake City and as head of public TV’s national syndication service in Bloomington, Ind., and at PBS. He worked at stations in Ann Arbor, Mich.; Atlanta; and Madison, Wis.; as well as Honolulu.

A graduate of the Naval School of Music, Reed played trombone and led a dance band in college. He and his wife, Maxine, known as Max, enlivened public television meetings with humorous songs written for the occasions, with his banjo accompaniment, and continued performing after retiring to Orlando in 2002.

Reed was born in 1932 to Carl and Hazel Reed in Sheldon, Iowa, where his father was station master of the Illinois Central Railroad. He served more than three years in the U.S. Navy, until 1953, including two years in intelligence services in Korean waters. He received a bachelor’s in speech (radio/TV) from the University of Iowa, and worked his way through an M.A. in radio/TV at the University of Michigan.

Reed left public television in 1978 to found the National Video Clearing House Inc., a New York-based publisher of program directories and trade magazines.

Robert M. Reed (family photo).

Robert M. Reed (family photo).

In 1989, he turned to writing books, including four editions of Career Opportunities in Television, Cable and Video, The Encyclopedia of Television, Cable and Video, and The Dictionary of Television, Cable and Video, coauthored with his wife, and humorous books including The Potluck Dinner That Went Astray and How to Survive Being a Presbyterian.

Reed was survived by his wife of 57 years, Max; sons Bob of Winter Park and Rick of Alameda, Calif.; daughter Deri of New York City; and four grandchildren.

A memorial service was held in Winter Park and burial in Sheldon, Iowa.

Posted belatedly on Jan. 7, 2013

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