Michael Hardgrove, former Nine PBS CEO, dies at 85

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Michael Hardgrove, former president and CEO of Nine PBS in St. Louis, died Dec. 29 at his home in Chesterfield, Mo. He was 85.


The station announced Hardgrove’s death Wednesday. A Nine PBS spokesperson told Current that he died from acute myeloid leukemia, which was diagnosed in April.

Hardgrove served as the station’s CEO for nearly 25 years before retiring in 2002. During his tenure he oversaw the 1987 introduction of Donnybrook, a weekly public affairs program, and authorized a 1998 move from Washington University’s campus to the Grand Center neighborhood, according to a tribute video posted by Nine PBS.

Hardgrove was born July 14, 1937, in Yuma, Ariz, and was raised in Tucson. He served two years as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army before starting his career in broadcasting.

He was a director, producer and EP for WTOP, a CBS affiliate in Washington, D.C. He also worked as PD for WETA-TV in Washington, D.C, and as station manager for WETA-FM.

Hardgrove later became station manager for KVIE in Sacramento, Calif., before becoming Nine PBS’ president and CEO in 1978, when the station was known as KETC/Channel 9.

Hardgrove’s wife, Nancy C. Hardgrove (nee Jossel), died in 2016. He is survived by his daughter, Tracy C. Hardgrove; son-in-law Martin E. Burgess; step-grandsons Brandon R. Burgess, Johnathan M. Burgess and Christian M. Burgess; and step-granddaughter, Molly O. Baird. He was predeceased by his late son-in-law, William H. Baird, and late step-grandson Andrew M. Baird.

The Hardgrove family requested that tributes and memorials to Michael be directed to Nine PBS.

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