Bob Martin’s television career spanned 30-years in the Phoenix market. From 1952 to 1962 he was program director and operations manager of KPHO-TV (Channel 5). In 1954, after being “pestered” by Bill Thompson, a kid in the art department, Martin gave him the opportunity to host the kid’s show. Soon after, The Wallace & Ladmo show would begin a 35-year run as the longest running, locally produced kids program in the nation.
From1962-1982, Martin was Vice-president and assistant manager of KOOL-TV(Channel10), the CBS Affiliate. He served as vice president of programming, promotions, operations and personnel. In 1976 he was instrumental in the hiring of MaryJo West, the first female to anchor a newscast in the Phoenix Market. In 1962-1963 he was also the assistant to the president of KOLO Radio and Television inTucson.
Born in Thayer, Missouri, Martin was a full time movie projectionist in the local movie theatre at the age of 13. In his early career, he made commercial and education films for various companies, and produced newsreels for Paramount Pictures Company.
Martin was in the US Army from 1943-1946 and was stationed in New York City. He was a Signal Corps motion picture cameraman, ending up as Chief Instructor at the Photographic Center on Long Island New York. During his service in the US Army, he met many famous people, including Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Dwight Eisenhower.
In 1946 there were only five television stations in the country -three in NY, one in Chicago and one in LA. There were 5000 television receivers but most were in the hands of engineers. Martin was hired as Director of Operations for CBS and served as assistant program director and production manager for WBBM, the CBS Chicago station. In 1952 Martin left the wind and snow of Chicago and moved to Phoenix , AZ. He was hired by KPHO-TV, Arizona’s only television station which went on the air in 1949.
Bob was an active member of many clubs and organizations including: National Academy of Arts and Sciences – NATAS – President 1975-1976 Arizona Broadcasting Association.