Hartford N. Gunn Jr., the first president of Public Broadcasting Service, a former general manager of Los Angeles' Channel 28 and the executive credited with connecting the PBS system by domestic satellite, died Thursday in a Boston hospital of cancer.
Gunn was 59 and most recently was a consultant to the Satellite Television Corp. in Washington where he was working on projects to bring TV programs from satellites into individual living rooms.
Gunn devoted his entire professional life to public television, gravitating to it when it was in its infancy.
First Job in Boston
His first job was at Boston's WGBH in 1952, a year after he graduated from Harvard School of Business at age 25. He became director of operations and then general manager of the station in 1957 at a time when there was fewer than a dozen people on its staff and its radio counterpart had yet to go on the air.
With David Ives and the late Ralph Lowell, all of Boston, Gunn was at the forefront of the campaign to pressure Congress to create a national PBS network. When it was created in 1968, Gunn helped turn the concept of a network devoted to culture, information and education into a reality that now includes 240 public outlets.