Newton Minow. (WTTW)

Newton Minow may have done more to improve the quality of television in the United States than any other person. “I saw using this medium certainly for entertainment, but also for education in the large sense, for stimulation, for ... I would hope, inspiration,” he said.

Newton Minow (center) speaks to WTTW’s Geoffrey Baer (right). (WTTW)

“He was always there for us, always the best listener, always the best cheerleader, always setting the best example,” Nell Minow said. “He was a great, great, great father.”

Newton Minow appears on “Chicago Tonight” in an episode that aired July 23, 2015.

Newton Minow left a permanent stamp on the broadcasting industry through government steps to foster satellite communications, the passage of a law mandating UHF reception on TV sets and his outspoken advocacy for quality in television.

(WTTW News)

Early voting begins in Chicago on Friday, but voters will have fewer opportunities to be informed about the positions of those on the ballot because there are fewer debates. It’s a national trend, though one that’s difficult to measure.


The Republican National Committee has unanimously voted to withdraw from the Commission on Presidential Debates, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that has officially been sponsoring and producing general election presidential debates since 1987. 

Newton Minow appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoon on April 18, 2022. (WTTW News)

A Chicago native, John Rogers is a longtime friend of former President Barack Obama.

Newton Minow appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Monday, May 10, 2021. (WTTW News)

Newton Minow, a former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, played a key role in public media. Here’s what he thinks about television today — six decades after his famous “vast wasteland” speech.

President Donald Trump speaks during the first presidential debate Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio. (WTTW News via CNN)

Interruption, disruption and insults. Tuesday’s presidential debate was arguably the most chaotic ever produced. We get reaction from the father of presidential debates, the former FCC chairman who first proposed the idea in 1955.

Newton Minow appears on “Chicago Tonight” in an episode that aired July 23, 2015.

Newton Minow has been a member of the WTTW board since 1967 when he joined as chairman. In an opinion piece, he writes: “For the sake of the United States of America and our values, we need your voices now.” 

The last surviving member of the Kennedy administration and former chairman of WTTW received the nation’s highest civilian honor from President Barack Obama on Tuesday.

President Barack Obama announced Wednesday the former WTTW Chairman and 20 others will receive the nation’s highest civilian honor at a ceremony later this month.

10 Things You Might Not Know About the Former FCC Chairman

Former FCC chairman and WTTW trustee emeritus Newton Minow turns 90 on Sunday. While you may remember that he once famously called TV a “vast wasteland,” you might not know that he’s actually a big “Downton Abbey” fan. In honor of his upcoming birthday, we share 10 things about him that might just surprise you.

The general consensus: Last week's GOP presidential debate on CNBC was a disaster, but it has led to a lot of discussion over what sort of format and approach upcoming debates should take. Newton Minow, who has been called the father of televised presidential debates, joins our discussion.

We share what you had to say about the Better Government Association's report on police-involved shootings in Chicago, the rising price of rent across the city, whether or not the proposed tax on sugary beverages is a bitter pill, and Geoffrey Baer's conversation with Newton Minow.

He famously called television a “vast wasteland," but Newton Minow's influence goes far beyond that iconic phrase. Geoffrey Baer sat down with Minow to talk about some current political issues.

Newton Minow may be mostly remembered for his gutsy assessment of the television industry, calling the medium a “vast wasteland” as the fresh-faced, 34-year-old chairman of the Federal Communications Commission in 1961. But in the new documentary, Newton Minow: An American Story, veteran journalist Mike Leonard and local producer Mary Kay Wall examine how Minow’s life has had a far-reaching impact that still reverberates today.