Craig Allen Brush, former station manager of KCOS-TV in El Paso, Texas, and development executive at several stations, died March 27 from cancer in El Paso. He was 67.
Brush was a career development professional and fundraiser for PBS stations across the country. He graduated from the prestigious S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Brush also attended law school at Syracuse before starting his career in public broadcasting, first as membership associate at WCNY-TV in Syracuse, N.Y., then as development director at the Friends of WHA in Madison, Wis.
Brush’s career progressed when he became development director at WXXI-TV in Rochester, N.Y., where he ran the station’s development program for three years before moving on to be development director at Maryland Public Television in Owings Mills. His success at MPT included the C. Scott Elliott Development Professional of the Year award, the highest honor given to a fundraising professional.
Brush continued to advance in his career when he was appointed VP Marketing/Development at WPBT in Miami. His success in fundraising and development management in Miami led to a new position as station manager of KCOS (PBS El Paso), where he directed all aspects of operations, broadcasting, development and fundraising,
A former colleague and development consultant, Jim Lewis, called Brush “one of the small band of professionals who developed the fundraising techniques that have allowed PBS stations to thrive.”
A native of Cleveland, Brush was a devoted fan of the Cleveland Indians from early childhood and attended games regularly with his father. The Tribe, as he called them, was his passion. Throughout his life, he watched every game he could and became an expert on the history of the Indians. Second only to the Indians came his love of the Syracuse lacrosse team, which he followed enthusiastically every spring.
Craig is survived by his wife Denise, his stepdaughter Nicole, and her two children, Nathaniel and Chloe. He will be missed by all.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said that Brush worked at Friends of WHA before WCNY. He worked at WCNY first.
Craig Brush was a truly a unique fundraiser, as one of my influences teaching me to pitch on air – he had the unique ability to look directly in the soul of the viewers eyes at home. Like the days of old at WPBT with guys like George Dooley and John Felton, Sr. and John Reynolds pitching on-air – – Craig Brush was the master at ad-libbing connections from messages in the programs he was pitching into relatable call-to-action motivations for everyone watching him in South Florida – especially us classic Tom Baker Doctor Who fans growing up and watching Channel 2.
I remember how Craig would tell stories about the mission of our institution – and actually cry at the thought of the greater good and betterment we could strive for, he was one of a rare breed and I thank him for teaching me some essential life-lasting lessons on why we pitch shows, the art and the craft of knowing your audience skillfully and with careful distinction.