Frank Magid, namesake of the media consultancy Frank N. Magid Associates, passed away this morning in Santa Barbara, California. He was 78 and had been suffering from lymphoma.
Magid retired from Magid Associates in 2002 but held an honorary chairman title. Magid Associates consults for numerous stations across the country and provides other professional services ranging from executive coaching to e-commerce consulting.
"Frank Magid demanded perfection, led by example and inspired excellence in everyone he touched," said Frank N. Magid TV President Steve Ridge. "He had an insatiable appetite for knowledge and understanding of human behavior. Frank was a true visionary who applied his genius and changed the landscape of television."
Frank Magid was born in Chicago in 1931. As a student at the University of Iowa in the 1950s, Magid merged his fascination with human behavior with the nascent statistical field of random sampling to lead the development of the new field of survey research.
He founded Frank N. Magid Associates in 1957, and made an indelible mark on the television world. It was Magid who, based on the research his company had conducted, recommended that CBS feature Walter Cronkite as a solo anchorman on the CBS Evening News. He played a key role in the development of ABC's Good Morning America, which debuted in 1975, and helped to define the modern network morning show format and style.
Magid and his company developed the concept of early morning local newscasts, helped launch the satellite television industry, conducted the first research determining the viability of digital video recorders, and hatched the "Action News" concept for local news, which combined "hard" news with non-traditional features including health, consumer advice, and other subjects of particular relevance and interest to viewers; and one that utilized emerging video technologies to provide viewers with a fast-paced, highly visual newscast.
Magid's son Brent succeeded him as CEO upon his retirement.
Magid is survived by Brent, his other son Creighton, his wife Marilyn, his brother Gail, and four grandchildren.