WTTW goes all out to honor Newton Minow

Newton Minow

Newton Minow

The only thing missing is the proclamation declaring it “Newton Minow Week” — and that’s probably on the way.

Window to the World Communications, parent company of public television WTTW-Channel 11 and classical music WFMT FM 98.7, will mark its 60th anniversary this week with a gala salute to its former board chairman, who’s also the subject of a new hourlong documentary.

Minow, 89, is the prominent Chicago lawyer and former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission famous for calling television “a vast wasteland” in a 1961 speech. As WTTW board chairman a decade later, he is credited with recruiting William J. McCarter, the visionary leader who served as president and CEO for 27 years.

On Tuesday, WTTW will honor Minow at a diamond anniversary celebration at its studios in the recently named Renée Crown Public Media Center, 5400 North Saint Louis Avenue. He is the first individual to be honored by the public media organization’s annual benefit.

On Thursday, the station will air “Newton Minow: An American Story,” a one-hour tribute produced by Mike Leonard and Mary Kay Wall. It traces the life and career of the child of immigrants from Ukraine who became an adviser to presidents and an eyewitness to history. The program will debut at 8 p.m. and air at other times in the week.

“At once valuable historical document and loving family story, it features Minow at length and his family in loving, affectionate and funny segments,” Rick Kogan wrote in his Chicago Tribune column Sunday. “There is striking archival footage. There is heart and soul and, even when he is talking about the current sad state of politics or the media, hope.”