Edward F. McLaughlin, Jr.
His loving family mourns the loss of Edward F McLaughlin, Jr., 91, of Palm Beach Florida & Greenwich Connecticut on January 18, 2018.
A radio broadcasting visionary, he was born in San Francisco October 12, 1926. Mr. McLaughlin joined the US Army in 1943 towards the end of WWII and spent the remainder of the War stateside. The Korean War saw him called back to the Army where he was stationed in England working on entertainment for the troops. He was a GI bill graduate of San Francisco State in Broadcasting. After starting his career at KTIM in San Rafael, he worked for KGBS in Los Angeles. He returned to San Francisco as Sales Manager, and then Vice President & General Manager for KGO Radio, an ABC affiliate. Mr. McLaughlin helped establish the talk radio format at KGO, which moved the station to the top of the market. In 1972 he was promoted to President of ABC Radio Networks and relocated to New York. His 14-year tenure at ABC in New York saw the building of affiliate relationships and implementation of the multi-network concept. He also innovated and changed the distribution network for radio programming, leading the way for an industry wide move from telephone lines to digital satellite distribution.
Mr. McLaughlin helped revive long form radio programming with network broadcasts such as The Barbara Streisand Special, Elvis: Memories and the Neil Diamond Special. He negotiated the purchase of Watermark, the syndication company responsible for Casey Kasem's American Top 40 and American Country Countdown with Bob Kingsley. He expanded the Paul Harvey news broadcasts to include The Rest of the Story. Under his tenure, live sports broadcasts returned to ABC radio, including the Triple Crown, the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid and the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
His commitment for radio continued after his departure from ABC in 1986. He and his wife Patricia founded EFM Media in 1987 with initial syndication of Dr. Dean Edell. A search for additional talent led to a 1988 option on a commentator in Sacramento that became a national phenomenon. Initially a 2 hour local New York program, the Rush Limbaugh Show went national one month later and by 1991 was a fixture in over 500 markets. Clearly the success of Rush, as crafted by Mr. McLaughlin, had an impact with national audiences on both sides of the political spectrum. Mr. McLaughlin's enthusiasm for radio and savvy strategies in business created the resurgence in talk radio that continues to grow today.
In 1995 he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago; in 1996 he received the National Association of Broadcasters' National Radio Award. In 2008 he was inducted into the New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame. On March 5, 2018 he will posthumously receive the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Broadcasters Foundation of America.
Mr. McLaughlin served as Chairman of the board of The Broadcasters Foundation for seven years, and continued to serve as Chairman Emeritus. He was also the first chairman of the Radio Network Association and a long-standing board member of the International Radio & Television Foundation. He was also a trustee of The Paley Center for Media (formerly the Museum of Television & Radio).
An avid golfer, Mr. McLaughlin's start at KTIM was a weekly program "On the Tee". He continued his passion for the sport, playing well into his 80s. Mr. McLaughlin is a former member of the Meadow Club in Fairfax CA, and the Atlantic Golf Club in Bridgehampton, NY. He was also a member of the Everglades and Sailfish Clubs in Palm Beach, FL and the Belle Haven Club in Greenwich, Ct.
With his wife Patricia (Humbert), Ed spent 35 happiest years building his business, participating in philanthropic causes, and devoting himself to family. He is survived by his wife, his children Edward F. McLaughlin III (Colleen) of Martinez, CA, Kimberly Pellissier (Pierre) of San Jose, CA and Marika McLaughlin of Stamford , CT and grandchildren Meghann & Daniel McLaughlin (Sarah), Christophe & Stephan Pellissier and Sophia & Michael Kot. There will be a private family burial. Details for a memorial in June will be announced.
Donations can be made to the Edward McLaughlin Memorial Fund at the Broadcasters Foundation of America, 125 West 55th Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10019-5366.
Published by San Francisco Chronicle from Jan. 20 to Jan. 21, 2018.