February 8, 2008 – 2:30PM



Retired network news commentator Fulton Lewis, III was today presented the “2008 Broadcast Pioneer of the Year Award” by The Broadcaster’s Club of Florida.

His 15-minute nightly news commentaries were heard by over 16 million Americans on the 630 stations of the Mutual Broadcasting System from the mid-1960’s until 1980 when he retired and moved to Bradenton. Lewis is currently a resident of River Club in the Lakewood Ranch area of Manatee County.

The Award was presented Friday during a luncheon of The Broadcaster’s Club at the Sarasota Yacht Club by Bill Carey, Chairman of the Florida Association of Broadcasters and General Manager of television station WFTS (ABC) in Tampa.

Lewis noted that he was “literally born in the lap of broadcast news and politics” because his father, Fulton Lewis, Jr., was one of the nation’s first network news commentators whose career spanned 30 years from 1936 until his death in 1966. The younger Lewis carried on with the broadcasts at the request of the Mutual network. He told Friday’s audience about his interviews with many distinguished world leaders saying that he was most impressed by Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, and Ronald Reagan. “When you talked to them, there was no ‘spin’ – just candid honest opinions which was refreshingly sincere and genuine.” His travels included 6 tours of the combat in Vietnam, and coverage of the 7-Day War in Israel in 1967, the conflict in Northern Ireland, the civil war in Nigeria/Biafra and the struggle for survival of Rhodesia in central Africa.

In addition to his broadcasting career, Lewis was active in conservative politics. He was National Field Director of Young Americans for Freedom (a youth group initiated by publisher William F. Buckley, Jr. in the early 1960’s) and served as a speechwriter in the Goldwater presidential campaign of 1964. During the 1960’s and 1970’s, he also lectured and debated on over 750 college campuses, produced and narrated several documentary films, and was a frequent guest on network television political forums. He currently owns a computer services business in Bradenton, serves as a consultant to political groups and candidates, and writes articles for national political journals.

In accepting his award, Lewis said he is “extremely proud of his association with the broadcast news industry.” He said: “When you view the entire spectrum of the media in America today, it is remarkably balanced and professional. Liberals can complain about conservative domination of radio talk shows and Fox News, and conservatives can complain about the liberal domination of some television network newscasts, Hollywood, and newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post. Taken as a whole, however, the American people are getting a pretty well-balanced diet from the news media.”

Lewis pointed out that it took more than three weeks for news of the Declaration of Independence to get from Philadelphia to Williamsburg, Virginia in 1776. “When you stop to think of where we have gone in 232 years, the advances in the speed and accuracy of information communication have been remarkable. There will be generation after generation of new pioneers who utilize tomorrow’s technology to take communications to new levels we can’t even fathom today. Exciting and challenging horizons lie ahead.”

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