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Floyd Kalber, longtime Chicago TV anchor, dies at 79

The Associated Press
Published May 14, 2004, 6:36 AM CDT

Floyd Kalber, an Emmy-award-winning news anchor whose career included highly rated programs on two Chicago stations and the "Today" show, has died of emphysema, his family said. He was 79.

Kalber died Thursday at his home in west suburban Burr Ridge.

"He was the same kind of man in private as he was in public -- principled at all times," said his daughter, Kathy Kinsella.

Kalber was hired in 1960 by NBC News after a decade as the one-person news department of KMTV-TV in his native Omaha, Neb. Within a few months of his arrival at WMAQ-TV he began a 16-year run as the 10 p.m. anchorman for the NBC-owned station.

Kalber left WMAQ in 1976 to read the news on the "Today" show. He stayed there for three years.

Kalber retired from the network in 1981, but was coaxed out of retirement in 1984 to help revive Chicago's WLS-TV by anchoring the 6 p.m. newscast. He enjoyed another run atop the ratings for 14 years and retired from the ABC affiliate in 1998.

He received the nickname "The Big Tuna" of television news because his power in the newsroom was perceived to be as great as the power of the late Chicago mob boss Tony "Big Tuna" Acardo, local broadcast historian Rich Samuels said.

"The Chicago journalism community lost a giant with the passing of Floyd Kalber," said Steve Scott, president of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association. "Mr. Kalber was able to mix rock solid authority with his pleasant, folksy demeanor to create a larger-than-life persona."

The winner of five Emmy Awards, Kalber was inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and the Silver Circle of the Chicago Television Academy.

Kalber spent one semester in the journalism department of Creighton University and also served in the South Pacific during World War II.

In addition to his daughter, Kalber is survived by his wife of 57 years, Betty, a son and six grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements were pending.

Copyright © 2004, The Associated Press
Published online on May 14, 2004 courtesy of Legacy.com.
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