News Articles

Roone's Partner

12/15/2002 07:00:00 PM Eastern

Editor: It is with sadness that I note the passing of Roone Arledge, the former president of ABC News and Sports. I don't mean to take anything away from Roone, but I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone of the other member of the team that put ABC on the map. That was Julius Barnathan, formerly the president of ABC Broadcast Operations and Engineering. We lost Julie, as everybody knew him, a few years ago to the same horrible disease that just took Roone.

If Roone was a visionary, and he certainly was, Julie was the genius that delivered Roone's visions. When Roone came up with those crazy ideas like putting cameras inside racecars and on skis, instant replays and slow motion, it was Julie who delivered the hardware that put those images on the little screens in all our living rooms.

Julie was not an engineer. He was actually a mathematician by training, but he possessed an almost unique ability to identify what needed to be done and to find the people who could do it.

I have come across only one other person in my career who possessed this talent, in almost equal proportion to Julie's, and that is Tony Masiello, now with XM Satellite Radio.

Both these guys could terrify you and, at the same time, inspire you to deliver things even you had no idea you had the ability to do.

Maybe there was an element of fear in saying you had failed, but, having worked under both these guys, Tony much more closely than Julie, you never felt that you were being flogged into performing. You wanted to come through for these guys. They made you feel like you were part of a team, and you just couldn't let them down.

Back in 1953, Leonard Goldenson bought a puny, struggling, almost bankrupt company call the American Broadcasting Co., which was actually the fourth network behind NBC, CBS and Dumont.

By the time he sold the company to Capital Cities Communications 30 years later, he had transformed ABC from the laughingstock of the industry into a powerhouse that dominated almost all aspects of the business it was in, including prime time, news, sports, television stations, cable, network radio and radio stations.

Roone and Julie certainly deserve a large share of the credit for what Mr. Goldenson was able to accomplish.

I don't know if they have television in heaven, but, if they do, now that Roone and Julie are reunited, the rest of us certainly have some extraordinary viewing to look forward to when we get there.

Alan Parnau, New York City

September
October

News Technology Summit

DoubleTree by Hilton Baltimore--BWI Airport, Linthicum, MD