Al Primo Biography – Al Primo Wiki
Al Primo born Albert Thomas Primo is an Italian-American television news executive who was credited with creating the Eyewitness News format. More than a hundred markets have taken the Eyewitness News name to label their own featured local newscasts and others are using Primo’s concept under different names for their own formats.” Eyewitness News was the first newscast to put [news] reporters on the set,” which he states in his biographical book, Eyewitness Newsman. The New York Daily News described Primo as the man “who almost single-handedly changed the face of broadcast journalism.” Station newscasts were only 15 minutes long and he supervised the transition to thirty-minute programs. As part of the expansion, Marie Torre, of the New York Herald Tribune was hired. He trained her and she became one of the first women in broadcasting to write, report, and anchor a newscast.
He attended North Catholic Boys School and Perry High School, graduating in 1953, the University of Pittsburgh and graduated in 1958. He started in the business in 1953 as a mail boy at WDTV in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, moving up the ranks as the station switched dial positions (from channel 3 to channel 2), owners (from the DuMont Television Network to Westinghouse Broadcasting), and call letters (to KDKA-TV), working as a news writer, cameraman, reporter, and anchorman. In February 1963, he was named assistant news director of KDKA-TV. He moved from KDKA-TV to KYW-TV in Cleveland, Ohio to become the news director there in 1964. While in Cleveland, he hired Tom Snyder when the previous anchor, Jim Axel, left. When Westinghouse switched their Cleveland station for NBC’s WRCV in Philadelphia in 1965, he relocated to Philadelphia. It was in Philadelphia where he launched the Eyewitness News format – the name itself had been used for some years before that by Westinghouse’s TV stations for its local newscasts, and in fact was first used by KYW itself in 1959 when it was based in Cleveland, Ohio.
In September 1968 he moved to WABC-TV, the ABC affiliate in New York City, to become director of news there. He refined the Eyewitness News format at WABC, hiring minority and women reporters whom he placed in prominent positions in the newscast, and the Eyewitness News name and format radiated across the United States from here. He also chose the musical score from the Tar Sequence in the movie Cool Hand Luke as the news theme to WABC’s Eyewitness News, a move that also exposed many other TV stations in the United States to Schifrin’s work. At WABC-TV, he assembled the legendary anchor duo of Roger Grimsby and Bill Beutel, which garnered high ratings for 16 years until 1986, when Grimsby was let go from the station. He was made vice president in charge of news for ABC’s owned and operated stations in May 1972. In February 1973, ABC launched a half-hour newsmagazine, The Reasoner Report, featuring veteran newsman Harry Reasoner as an anchor. When executive producer Ernest Leiser left The Reasoner Report to become executive producer of ABC Evening News he was brought in to replace him. The Reasoner Report was canceled in May 1975, and Primo left the network the following year to become a consultant.
In 1999, he worked with Jonathan Braun to launch foreigntv.com, a web site which featured streaming broadcasts from international news, hiring Peter Arnett as an international correspondent. In 2000, foreigntv.com, Inc. became Medium4.com, launching three additional web sites: StreamingUSA.com, NicheTV.com, and Medium4Music.com. In 2002, he launched Teen Kids News as a project to give young people an opportunity to develop an interest in the news industry through delivering news and information to their peers. The program is starting its 15th year, seen on 220 TV stations covering 95% of USA, 1000 locations in 175 countries via American Forces Network and sent by PBS satellite and streamed on the Internet to 12,600 schools each week.
Al Primo Age
He was born on July 3, 1935, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States.
Al Primo Family
He currently lives in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. During an interview a while back, he thanked his family for what he was able to do all those years back in the media while away from home.