ABC News President James Goldston on remembering Bob Benson.
I am sorry to report a longtime member of the ABC family passed away this week. Bob Benson died on Sunday after a glorious career spanning four decades in radio.
Bob was known as a journalist who loved our profession and the people of ABC News. He was passionate about radio. He got his start as a high school student in Illinois on WIZZ. He was later a staff member at WIRE in Indianapolis, where he attended Butler University. Bob went on to KOIL in Omaha to become the National News Director for Star Stations and was assigned to cover the war in Vietnam. In 1966 he joined ABC as News Director of WLS in Chicago, and then he joined ABC station KGO in San Francisco.
In 1974 Bob left ABC to launch AP Radio in Washington. He returned to ABC in New York as Vice President of ABC News, where he had a long and successful career in charge of news and sports for the radio networks.
Bob was blessed with a golden voice. When he was young, he MC’ed many rock & roll concerts including the Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones. Later he was executive producer of the first Live Aid Concert, where ABC radio broadcast 24 hours of uninterrupted programming across the country. Of all the national and international events he attended and covered, he often said his most memorable moment was a private audience with Pope John Paul II.
Bob’s love of radio was only surpassed by his love and devotion to family. Bob met and married Mary Ann Sullivan, his wife of 45 years, in San Francisco in 1971. Along with his wife, he is survived by his two sons, William and Robert; and four beautiful grandchildren, Andrew, Sarah, Anna and Peter.