Bob Ryan

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Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame

Bob Ryan

2001 Charter Inductee

In his five decades as a broadcast journalist, Bob Ryan traveled more than half a million miles, bringing history in the making to Minnesota viewers and becoming one of the Midwest's most widely recognized and respected broadcasters. After serving in the Marine Corps in World War II, he began his broadcasting career at the University of Minnesota at KUOM in 1945. In 1947 he became a reporter and newscaster for KFAM Saint Cloud. In 1948 he began 23 years of service at KSTP Radio and TV, where he served as a solo news anchor and also pioneered the two-anchor model with the late John MacDougall. He moved to KROC Radio and KTTC TV Rochester in 1971, then to Minnesota News Network in 1985. In 1990 he began his commentary program, "Bob Ryan's Passport," on KNXR Rochester. He won numerous awards not only for broadcasting but also for his volunteer efforts and service to the community. In 1990 he was named Outstanding Broadcast Personality by the Minnesota Broadcasters Association.

Bob passed away on April 28, 2014, less than a month shy of his 90th birthday.

Here's Bob's obituary from the Star Tribune written by Joy Powell:

By age 9, Bob Ryan had decided to become a broadcaster, often using a wooden stick as a microphone to make believe he was a radio announcer.

At 15, he rode the subway to the 1939 World’s Fair in New York, where he saw an invention called television. After that, Ryan focused on his goal and became an award-winning broadcast journalist who roamed the world in a career spanning 50 years, bringing history in the making to viewers.

Ryan, of Minneapolis, died Monday [April 28, 2014] of congestive heart failure. He was 89.

“He was a great communicator, a great broadcaster, a real pioneer in television news,” said Stanley S. Hubbard of Hubbard Broadcasting, which includes KSTP-TV and radio stations. “Bob was doing television news at Channel 5 when almost no stations in the country were doing television news.”

“I’m so grateful. I had a wonderful, interesting life,” Ryan said in a recent Star Tribune interview. “It was my good fortune. I made it a point to try to get the station to send me on trips to report about activities about Minnesotans in the strangest places: In the Soviet Union, behind the Iron Curtain, and in dangerous places in the world.”

Ryan was the son of Anna and W.D. “Rosy” Ryan, a pitcher in three consecutive World Series for the New York Giants in the 1920s. Bob Ryan graduated from high school in Eau Claire, Wis.

After serving in the Marines in World War II, he began his career at the University of Minnesota’s KUOM Radio and in St. Cloud. In 1948, he began 23 years with KSTP radio and TV.

He moved from KSTP to Rochester TV and radio stations in 1971, then to Minnesota News Network in 1985. He also had a commentary program, “Bob Ryan’s Passport,” on KNXR in Rochester. In 1974, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Winona State University. He served in many civic roles throughout his life.

Ryan covered the loss of freedoms in Soviet bloc countries, including Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Romania. He covered revolutions in Central and South America.

Ryan traveled three times to Southeast Asia to report on the Vietnam War, and he reported from Korea, too. In the Philippines, he interviewed Ferdinand Marcos before his ouster in 1986.

He went five times to the Middle East, including to cover the aftermath of the Six-Day War in 1967, when Israel battled Arab nations.

“We hoped to cover the war, but when we got there, the war had ended,” he said with a laugh. “It was a six-day war; we could only do a follow-up about the Israeli Army in the occupied territory.”

He went to Egypt, “but the Egyptians weren’t very cooperative because the Israelis had defeated them soundly.”

In Greece, Ryan covered a brewing revolution. “It was a bloodless revolution. The king left Greece, and he and his family went to Rome. We tried to interview him, but he was not of a mind to be interviewed,” Ryan said, chuckling.

“I was very fortunate to have been in on a lot of exciting times for news. We would always try to find a Minnesotan who could give us personal insight, and we almost always did.”

His signoff was always: “The best of everything to you.”

Survivors include his wife of 66 years, Betty; son Gregory of Studio City, Calif.; and daughter Patty of Burbank, Calif.