The Stanton Foundation was created by Frank Stanton, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest executives in the history of electronic communications and one of the television industry’s founding fathers.
He was the master builder of CBS, turning an also-ran radio network into a broadcasting powerhouse. Stanton became president in 1946 and served for 25 years. He was a pioneering advertising researcher, inventing the first radio advertising audience counting device a precursor of today’s “people meter” to give CBS an early competitive edge with sponsors.
The Great Debates
In 1960, Stanton initiated the first televised presidential debates — the famous Nixon-Kennedy “Great Debates,” which required a special Act of Congress to proceed. These initial debates are widely credited with giving John Kennedy his margin of victory, and have become a staple of American presidential campaigns.
Following his retirement from CBS, Stanton served as chairman of the American Red Cross, chairman of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Visiting Committee, trustee of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, California, trustee of the Museum of Broadcasting, and chairman of the RAND Corporation. He died in December 2006 at the age of 98.
He was a lifelong dog owner and admirer, from the collie who accompanied him on his first paper route to the Pembroke Welsh Corgis who added warmth and companionship to his last years. In 2002 he provided the lead gift for the Clinical Care Center at Angell-MSPCA in Boston. He was survived by his Corgi, Annie, who was cared for by the Foundation until her passing in 2017.