Tony Malara Dies of Heart Attack - Broadcasting & Cable

Tony Malara Dies of Heart Attack

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Tony Malara, 69, the longtime head of CBS affiliate relations and onetime president of the CBS-TV network, died Aug 24 at a Syracuse, N.Y, hospital.

Malara suffered a heart attack as his vacation home on Wellesley Island in the Thousand Islands in upstate New York. When he was hospitalized, it was also discovered he suffered from acute myeloid leukemia.

Malara, born in Watertown, N.Y., was also former president of the state broadcasters association. He had recently formed Malara Broadcasting, which owns TV's in Duluth, Minn., and Fort Wayne, Ind.

Malara retired from CBS in 1995 as president of affiliate relations. telling B&C: “I just didn’t want to wake up someday to find that it was too late to do something else.”

Later, he was inducted into the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications' Professional Gallery at Syracuse University, his alma mater.

Malara got into the business as an announcer at WOLF-AM Syracuse in 1956, then moved to WWNY-AM and TV the next year and stayed for the following 21, becoming the influential and well-liked general manager.

He moved to CBS in 1978 in affiliate relations, with a stint atop the network sandwiched between being “the industry’s strongest voice for the network-affiliate relationship,” as CBS put it upon his departure in 1995.

Malara headed the affiliate unit at a tough time. CBS decided not to renew its NFL contract, and had his hands full trying to mollify angered affiliates. Despite his efforts, many of them defected to Fox, which obtained the rights.

WWNY reported Friday that the funeral is at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 29, at St. Anthony's Church in Syracuse.

Industry donations can be made to the Anthony C. Malara Memorial Endowment Fund; Broadcasters Foundation of America Seven Lincoln Avenue Greenwich, CT  06830, broadcastersfoundation.org; 203-862-8577.

The station’s Web site, www.wwnytv.net, is also collecting personal anecdotes about his life and career.

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