Two pioneering WHYY pubcasters die

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Two broadcasters who were part of the history of WHYY in Philadelphia have died.

John B. Roberts, one of the founding directors of WHYY in 1957, died March 8 of a spinal infection at his home in the retirement community of Rydal Park in suburban Philadelphia. He was 94.

Roberts also founded the Temple University public radio station, WRTI-FM, now classical and jazz, in 1953, and taught communications at Temple from 1946 to 1988.

Paul Gluck, former WHYY-TV station manager and now on the Temple faculty, told the Philadelphia Inquirer, “For people like me, who worked as practicing journalists and transitioned into the academic world, he is a near-perfect role model.”

Bruce Harrison Beale, who spent 20 years at WHYY and 30 years at WHRO in Norfolk, Va., died of an apparent heart attack on March 8 at his home in Norfolk. He was 82.

Beale worked as a director, production manager and program director for WHYY in the 1960s and ’70s, and appeared on the air as host of a weekly program on the University of Delaware Blue Hens. He left in 1979 for WHRO, where he was production manager, retiring around a decade ago.

His son-in-law, Tom Kranz, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that Beale was “artful in preparation and planning of a television product with all of its multilayered elements; perceptive in the choice of assembling talent in front of and behind the camera . . . masterful in delivering a worthy television product in a timely manner.”

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