Broadcasting mogul Howard L. Green, 72, passed away on Sunday, September 29, 2002 after a short illness. Green owned several radio and television properties in our area including WMGM-TV, Channel 40 in Atlantic City, NJ.
He purchased the station in 1977 when it was using the call letters WCMC. The broadcast outlet is licensed to Wildwood, New Jersey. It came on the air on January 25, 1966. The station was and continues to be an NBC-TV affiliate, the only major network station in the entire state of New Jersey. Already owning WMGM-FM, Green decided to change the TV call to match his radio station so it became WMGM-TV April 12, 1984. Previous to that Green used the call letters WAAT. When the station goes digital, they will operate on Channel 36. The radio station is licensed to Atlantic City. In 1990, Howard moved the station's main office from Swainton in Cape May County to Linwood, in Atlantic County; both along the Jersey shore.
Howard Green consolidated all his area holdings at Linwood. In 1957, he had purchased WOND-AM, 1400 on the dial. In the early sixties, he built WMGM-FM at 103.7 on FM. The station started broadcasting on June 14, 1961 from Pleasantville, NJ (later re-licensed to Atlantic City). The corporate name was South Jersey Radio, Inc. at that time. In 1991, he bought WTYO-AM, Hammonton, at 1580. The station was previously WRDI. After taking control of the station, Green changed the call letters to WONZ and in 2001 went with WGYM
However, Green's first broadcasting job was in Elmira, New York at WENY, 1230 on the AM dial. He had a part-time summer job there while he still was in college. His full-time gig was at WCBA, Corning, New York; an AM daytimer at 1350. Later, he went to WAYZ in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania; a daytime at 1380. There he worked as a copywriter, salesman and announcer. He came to New Jersey in 1957 as the General Manager of WOND (Pleasantville, NJ)and shortly thereafter became its majority owner.
For old times sake, he purchased the station where he first worked, WENY on September 21, 1961. He also added WMMB in Melbourne, Florida (a full-time AM station at 1240) and WJAB in Portland, Maine (a daytimer at 1440) to his properties along with two New Jersey newspapers.
At the age of 29, he was elected President of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, the organization's youngest leader. Years later, he again became the group's President and later Chairman of their Board of Directors.
Green was born in Holyoke, Massachusetts and was the son of two Salvation Army officers, Jay and Ruth Green. Never forgetting his roots, he served on the local Salvation Army's advisory board for over three decades. Green said that his mother, the former Ruth Forrester of Asbury Park, New Jersey influences his volunteerism. He was involved with the Salvation Army for over six decades.
Jane Stark, General Manager of Green's WMGM-TV said, "On the worst day, he always had time for everybody. No matter what else was happening, he always had five minutes. Today, there are mergers and buyouts. He was determined that he was going to keep his local roots here and had no desire to sell out. The local station will be maintained in perpetuity under the Howard L. Green Foundation. This is what he wanted. He came up from nothing. His gregarious personality literally touched thousands of people."
Michael Schurman is Atlantic County's Director of Highway Safety and Community Affairs. He stated, "I was Howard Green's first news director. I was his first full-time news reporter for WOND in 1968. I was his first news director and anchor for TV-40. Howard Green was a great broadcaster who on the way up the ladder of success helped a lot of people. He left his footprint on broadcasting in this state and it's a big one."
Keith Dawn, Publisher of the Press of Atlantic City mentioned that "He was well-respected in the media business. He was an honorable and honest businessman. I enjoyed working closely with him on a number of occasions in recent years."
Green is survived by his wife, Maryjane; two brothers, Calvin and Donald; and several nieces and nephews.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Photo courtesy of WMGM-TV, Atlantic City
Researched and compiled by Broadcast Pioneers member Gerry Wilkinson
© 2002, All Rights Reserved
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