Robert B. Ridder's many achievements in broadcasting made him stand out, even in his famous media and publishing family.
Born in New York City in 1919, he attended Harvard University and served in the US Coast Guard during World War II before entering the family newspaper business. His broadcasting career began shortly thereafter when he reported news from the Duluth newspapers he worked for on WEBC. He bought WDSM Duluth in 1948. Though some in the company were skeptical about television, he brought the family successfully into the new medium, serving as president of what became WCCO TV Minneapolis/Saint Paul when it went on the air in 1949. In 1952 he became president of WCCO Radio as well.
He is remembered not just as a pioneer in radio, television, and media, but also for his many community activities, including the American Red Cross, the Saint Paul Urban League, and the Saint Paul United Fund. He was also a passionate hockey enthusiast who managed the US Olympic hockey team and co-founded the Minnesota Amateur Hockey Association.
In 1966, Mr. Ridder was part of an eight-member syndicate of Twin Cities men who paid $2 million to start the Minnesota North Stars, a National Hockey League expansion team now based in Dallas.
Bob Ridder passed away, at the age of 80, on June 24, 2000. In addition to his wife Kathleen, he is survived by a daughter, Kathleen Crampton; three sons, Peter, Robert Jr., and Christopher; three sisters, Gretchen Nicholas, Esther Ridder, and Joan Challinor; and four grandchildren.