Walter A. Schwartz, 82, former president of both ABC radio and TV and of rep firm Blair Television, died Dec. 14 at Bethesda Memorial Hospital in Boynton Beach, Fla.
Schwartz, a native of Detroit, joined WWJ(AM) there in 1955 as an account executive and worked his way up the sales ladder before heading up national sales for Westinghouse. After a stint as assistant general manager at Westinghouse's WINS New York, he joined ABC in 1963 as VP and general manager of flagship WABC, becoming president of all of ABC Radio in 1967.
As president, he oversaw the division of ABC Radio into four distinct, demographically targeted networks.
In 1972, as part of a major redesign of broadcasting operations that saw the creation of ABC Entertainment as a standalone department, Schwartz was named president of ABC-TV. In that post he oversaw the network, headed by Jim Duffy; sports, headed by Roone Arledge; the new entertainment division; owned stations; and a newly created program-planning and development department headed by Fred Pierce.
As president, he worked to repel congressional efforts to regulate TV violence and advertising, including adopting a policy against host-selling in Saturday-morning cartoons.
He was succeeded by Pierce as president of ABC in 1974, when Schwartz was named to head a new group consisting of nonbroadcast assets.
In 1975, Schwartz joined rep firm Blair Television as president of the stations division, representing large-market TVs. In 1979, Blair merged the large- and small-market divisions under Schwartz as president and CEO.
He was also a longtime member of the Television Bureau of Advertising and one-time president of the New York State Broadcasters Association.