Raymond Wittcoff — 1921-2018

The Passing of Raymond Wittcoff: A Community Leader and Public Television Pioneer

On January 2, 2018, we lost the last surviving founder of KETC/Channel 9, a true pioneer of public television and a long-time leader in the St. Louis community. Raymond Wittcoff passed early this morning at his home in Phoenix at the side of his wife Roma, his son Mark and his daughter Caroline. Ray was 96 years old.

Ray Wittcoff was known to many in the St. Louis region for his civic leadership through the founding of Channel 9, his long-time board leadership at Jewish Hospital and the eventual merger of Barnes, Jewish and Children’s Hospital. He also developed some of the early iconic buildings in downtown St. Louis. Ray was recently featured in the Nine Network special historical documentary on the revitalization of the Central West End.

In 1954 Ray led a group of St. Louisans making application to the FCC for an educational television license through the St. Louis Educational Television Commission (ETC). The ETC eventually became the call letters of KETC going on air under Ray’s leadership in September 1954. KETC became one of the first public television stations to go on air not connected with a university, school system or associated with any one institution. Ray and the founders of Channel 9 envisioned a television station dedicated to the education of the St. Louis community, founded on the principal of a media organization not owned or under the control of any one institution but truly an asset for everyone in the St. Louis community.

Ray received many awards during his lifetime including the 2011 Pioneer Spirit Award for his outstanding contributions to public television in the St. Louis region.

"Raymond Wittcoff, early proponent of educational TV, dies at 96"
In a 1952 speech, Wittcoff called for “a bold and forthright plan for the creation of a national educational television network.”
"KETC founder Raymond Wittcoff dies Wednesday in Phoenix"
Real estate developer and philanthropist Raymond H. "Ray" Wittcoff — the last surviving founder of KETC (Channel 9) — died Wednesday at his home in Phoenix, Ariz. He was 96.

"Living St. Louis | Raymond Wittcoff Obituary"
Nine Network of Public Media
Anne-Marie Berger remembers the life and contributions of the last surviving KETC founder.

"Obituary: Raymond H. Wittcoff, emeritus trustee, benefactor, 96"
Washington University in St. Louis
Raymond H. “Ray” Wittcoff, an emeritus trustee of Washington University in St. Louis and a member of the School of Medicine’s National Council since 2005, died Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, at his home in Phoenix.

"Raymond Witcoff, a founder of local and national public TV, dies at 96"
St. Louis Jewish Light,
Raymond H. Witcoff, longtime civic and philanthropic leader, and a founder of public television nationally and in St. Louis, died peacefully Jan. 2, in his home in Phoenix.