WTTW Chicago icon McCarter dies at 81


William McCarter, a broadcast pioneer who led PBS affiliate WTTW-TV for 27 years and built it to become the most-watched public television station in the country, died 4/21. McCarter came to the station in 1972 after being recruited by former FCC Chairman and WTTW Chairman and Trustee Newton Minow.

Setting his goal at boosting viewership, he quickly expanded the broadcast schedule to seven days a week. Under McCarter, the station also became a major production center producing a large number of nationally broadcast series and specials. Specific programs developed during his tenure include Chicago Tonight, Chicago Tonight: The Week in Review, Sneak Previews, The McLaughlin Group, Image Union, The Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching, Wild Chicago, Soundstage and Illinois Lawmakers.

WTTW and sister WFMT-FM received 12 George Foster Peabody Awards, 5 DuPont Columbia Journalism Awards, 150 regional Emmy Awards and 5 CINE Golden Eagle Awards.

McCarter retired in 1998. Prior to Chicago, he was president and CEO of WETA-TV/FM and was chairman of the Association of Public Television Stations in DC. He also served as President of the Washington Academy of Television, Arts & Sciences.