Leonard Goldenson was born in Scottsboro, Pennsylvania in 1905, and entered show business in 1933 as an attorney for Paramount Pictures. In 1951, Goldenson instigated United Paramount Theatres’ purchase of the struggling ABC network.
Becoming ABC’s Chief Executive Officer in 1953, Goldenson quickly established the network’s television presence, thanks in part to an exclusive contract with Walt Disney. As ABC television grew and evolved, ABC Radio launched several innovative networks designed to reach a variety of large but specialized audiences. Long-time fixtures of ABC Radio have included disc jockey Bruce Morrow and newscaster Paul Harvey, whose Rest of the Story broadcasts began in 1976.
In 1968, the ABC News Network was created. An effort to serve local stations of all formats, the ABC News Network divided the radio network into four segments, appropriate for young listeners, middle-of-the-road stations, FM stations and those stations seeking in-depth news and commentary.
Goldenson stepped down as the head of ABC in 1986, after negotiating a $3.5 billion merger between ABC and Capital Cities Broadcasting. By that time, ABC’s seven radio networks provided programming to more than 1,800 affiliates.
Leonard Goldenson died on December 27, 1999.
He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1992.