The veteran broadcaster who is credited with discovering Oprah Winfrey has retired. Our good friend Harry Jessell at TVNewsCheck this afternoon reports that Dennis Swanson stepped down last week from his position with Fox Television Stations.
Swanson held high-level positions at each of the Big Four station groups during his 60-year career. He is credited not only with discovering Oprah while he was GM at the ABC station WLS in Chicago, but also with coming up with the idea to stagger the Summer and Winter Olympics, which he pushed for while running ABC Sports.
Swanson changed the face of local newscasts in Los Angeles back in 1975 when he hired Jerry Dunphy to come to KABC, who revitalized that station’s newscasts. Previously, Dunphy had been the face of CBS’ local outlet in L.A., KNXT.
Fox TV Stations spokeswoman Erica Keane confirmed Swanson’s retirement, saying: “Dennis had a ground-breaking and legendary 60-year career in broadcasting — the last 11 as a dedicated member of the FTS executive team.”