MANSON--Florence Sando, A pioneering woman newscaster in radio and the early years of television journalism who hosted Pittsburgh's TV Show "The Florence Manson Show," died on November 25, 2013 at her home in Riverdale, New York at age 95 from complications related to dementia. Florence was born in 1918 and she graduated from Westminster College in 1939 and received her Master's Degree in Drama from Case Western Reserve the following year. Florence broke out of the usual confines of gossip and fashion coverage that women broadcasters were relegated to, spending 18 years as a popular on air Pittsburghbased personality. In her era when women broadcasters were usually expected to keep their shows light and frothy, Florence Sando tackled the leading hard news of the day in a career that ran from 1941 to 1959. Longtime viewers of Pittsburgh TV stations with signals that broadcast up and down the East Coast and into the Midwest would remember her for "The Florence Manson Show," which featured her as a host-interviewer, a pioneering use of that format. She interviewed well known public figures such as Eleanor Roosevelt (on radio) as well as celebrities on tv such as Danny Kaye and Louis Armstrong. Some of these interviews are available at the Museum of Broadcasting in New York. She also produced the earlier hard news breakthrough "Women's Angle" a 15 minute morning broadcast. Sando's "Women's Angle" spoke to women as adults, presenting news of the world, rather than the low-brow mix of fashion and decorating tips dished out to female audiences until then. "It was easy when the news was about Madame Chiang Kai-shek, or the ten bestdressed women, or Mrs. Roosevelt or Senator Margaret Chase Smith..." Sando told author and educator and former broadcaster Lynn Boyd Hinds in "Broadcasting the Local News- The Early Years of Pittsburgh's KDKA-TV." She was so popular with the Pittsburgh area audience that KDKA-TV asked her in 1957 to host "The Florence Manson Show," now using her married name after her wedding to film executive Arthur Manson. Her tv shows were always committed to public service as well as entertainment. She cooperated with government, civic, social and cultural agencies in support of the war effort during World War II and presented stories and interviews which contributed to Pittsburgh's post war development. The show had a successful run until Florence and Arthur moved to New York in 1959. Mrs. Manson remained active in theater and community affairs in New York City. She was a member of the Board of Ensemble Studio Theatre. She also served as a member of the Board of Riverdale Neighborhood House as well as serving as an Elder of the Riverdale Presbyterian Church. Florence is survived by her husband, Arthur, her daughter Cynthia Ann and son-in-law Jeffrey Faville, and their children James and Catherine and her son Anthony, her daughter-in-law Angela and their children, Daniel, William and Timothy. A memorial service will be held at the Riverdale Presbyterian Church on December 7th at 11:00am. Please send donations to The Riverdale Presbyterian Church at 4765 Henry Hudson Parkway West. Bronx, NY 10471.
Published in The New York Times on Nov. 28, 2013