MAB Past President, friend, broadcast pioneer Carl E. Lee dies at 96

It is with a sad heart that the MAB pass on the news that MAB Past President (1956), Lifetime Achievement Award recipient (1990) and broadcast engineering pioneer Carl E. Lee died on Sunday, February 22. He was 96.

He was a founding member of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, serving as President of the organization in 1956; and a founding member of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Foundation. He continued his service and support of the MAB until his death as an active Honorary Board Member on the MAB Foundation Board of Directors. His leadership and input will be greatly missed.

Lee's long career in the radio and television industry began in 1939, shortly after graduating from the Michigan Academy of Radio Science. Lee began a long career with Michigan-based Fetzer Broadcasting. Lee moved quickly up through the Fetzer organization and by 1958, was executive vice president and general manager of the company. In 1973, he became president of both Fetzer Broadcasting and Fetzer Television Co. The companies included what are now WWMT-TV and WKZO-AM/FM. Lee also headed up six other CBS affiliates around the nation.

Lee's involvement with the broadcast industry's professional organizations was extensive. His service included roles as president or director of the Broadcasters Foundation, National Association of Broadcasters and National Broadcast Pioneers. He was chairman of the CBS Television Affiliates Board and was instrumental in establishing the Region 4 Emergency Broadcast System and inspecting early Radio Free Europe facilities.

The Michigan Association of Broadcasters continues to honor Lee annually by offering its Carl E. Lee Broadcast Engineering Excellence Awards and the Carl E. Lee Broadcasting Scholarship, which is designated for a Western Michigan University broadcasting student.

Lee is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Cheri and Jeffrey Weedman of Cincinnati, and two grandchildren; two grandchildren, Carl Lee Weedman of Chicago, IL and Tatiana Eloise Weedman of Cincinnati, OH; a sister-in-law, Doris Lee of Kalamazoo; and many nieces and nephews. A private funeral service was held and burial has taken place.

A public memorial service is set for 10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 14, at the Lee Honors College at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. Memorial donations may be made to the Carl E. Lee Broadcasting Scholarship fund through the MAB Foundation (819 N. Washington, Ave. Lansing, MI 48906; 517-484-7444) to continue his legacy by awarding a scholarship annually to a WMU broadcasting student.

Posted on Thursday, February 26, 2015 (Archive on Sunday, March 15, 2015)
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