Joe L. Allbritton, who founded Allbritton Communications — the parent company of Washington D.C.-based ABC affiliate WJLA, cable’s News Channel 8 in the D.C. area, and Politico — died Wednesday at 87, TVNewsCheck reports.
Allbritton, a national champion debater in college, started out in banking, chairing the Houston International Bank, Houston Citizens Bank and University Bankshares before becoming the chairman of the Riggs National Bank.
He purchased the Washington Star newspaper and broadcast properties in 1974, and then expanded his TV holdings, the story reports. Allbritton Communications now owns eight ABC Network affiliates in seven markets as well as the local cable news channel in Washington.
His media holdings formed the basis for the print and Web publication Politico, founded by his son, Robert, the piece adds.
NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith paid tribute to Allbritton, saying: "Joe Allbritton was a larger than life figure in business, in media and in philanthropy. His contributions to local television are reflected every day in the programming excellence on display at WJLA-TV in Washington and seven other Allbritton-owned ABC affiliates across America. NAB salutes a visionary media entrepreneur for a life well lived.”