Broadcast Pioneers member Robert Jawer had been a leader in commercial television in Philadelphia since its earliest days. He started as an independent producer, creating live programs including the country's first televised beauty contest. He later was in-house producer of TV shows for the Philadelphia Electric Company.
He became the region's first account executive in 1948, at WPTZ (now known as KYW-TV). Bob was a pioneer in convincing clients and agencies of the value of using television. This wasn't easy in the early days, though he did sell his first spot, reported to be 20 seconds for $20 to an automotive supply house, Jawer Auto Supply. "I called and said, 'Dad, I need a sale,'" he recalled with a laugh.
While station ownership changed from Philco to Westinghouse to NBC to Westinghouse to CBS, Bob was a constant and his sales leadership grew year after year. He served in local and national sales, pioneered cable sales (Group W Satellite News Channel), and retired as Director of Account Services, where he was responsible for new business development.
In all, Bob's career at KYW spanned 43 years. In 1991, he formed Autumn Enterprises, allowing him to develop new programming while continuing to serve several clients as sales consultant.
Bob was well known around town for his dedication and energy in identifying new advertisers and finding them ways to get their product or service on the air. "I think a sincere account executive would be watching television shows at night looking at the competition," he said. "The worst thing to see is a salesperson just sitting there waiting for a phone to ring. That's an order taker." Bob never was.
Reflecting his commitment to the profession, Bob for 12 years was an instructor in TV Sales and Production at the Charles Morris Price School, and taught Public Relations and Marketing at the Wharton and Annenberg Schools. He was also active in the B'nai B'rith Communications Chapter, the Philadelphia Advertising Club, and of course Broadcast Pioneers where he was inducted into our Hall of Fame in 1995.
Bob's interest in education was furthered through longtime involvement with Big Brothers of America and the Abington Township School Board. With his wife Helene of a half-century. He a;sp tutored elementary school children in the Philadelphia School District. Bob had four children - Judy, Bruce, Anne, and Michael - and seven grandchildren. In his late eighties, it was said he still played a good game of tennis! He was a remarkable man. He passed away at age 91 on Friday evening, December 20, 2013 at his home with his wife and two of his children, Mike and Anne at his side.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
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