Jim Thompson is being remembered as an influential broadcaster as well as a leading advocate for people in this profession who need help with medical issues or are facing times of personal crisis.
Thompson died Sunday at age 75, according to the Broadcasters Foundation of America, which he led as president for 13 years. He had throat cancer.
“Thompson took over the reins of the Broadcasters Foundation in 2009, guiding the charitable organization to more than quadruple the amount of financial aid it distributes to radio and TV professionals from $400,000 to nearly $2 million last year,” the organization wrote in the announcement. He had planned to step down as president at the end of this year.
Having served in the Army in Vietnam, Thompson began his broadcast career in sales at KYW(TV) in Philadelphia, where he became VP/GM.
He eventually became president and CEO of Group W Radio, then one of the nation’s largest radio companies. With Mike Craven he also co-owned the 19-station group Liberty Broadcasting.
Thompson created the Radio-Mercury Awards, which recognizes creative work in radio advertising. He was on the boards of the Radio Advertising Bureau and the Advertising Council and was vice chairman of the Pennsylvania State Broadcasters Association. He was active in the National Association of Broadcasters and served on its Radio Futures Committee.
Scott Herman, chairman of the Broadcasters Foundation, said, “Broadcasting has lost a great man, who always saw the positive in every person and every situation. NAB President/CEO Curtis LeGeyt saluted Thompson for “his boundless generosity and passionate leadership” of the foundation.
His family and the foundation asked that in lieu of flowers, donations by made to a fund established in his name to benefit the foundation’s work.