Remembering One Of Our Own: James Birney Blair - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Remembering One Of Our Own: James Birney Blair

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SPOKANE, Wash.- James Birney Blair died Saturday, June 15 at the age of 92. He is remembered as a reporter, salesmen, station manager, and broadcasting pioneer. Blair was instrumental in shaping KHQ as the first general manager in 1952 and later as the president.

Blair was born in 1921 and grew up in Spokane. He studied radio at North Central High School and worked his way through college at a locally owned radio station called KUJ in Walla Walla. Like many young men at the time he entered the military in 1942. As a member of the Army Air Corps he served with the Eagle Squadron of the Royal Air Force in England.

When he returned to the United States he was commissioned in Sioux City, Iowa and met someone very special…his future wife Marcy. While still stationed in Sioux City, Blair attended Morning Side to complete his degree.

After leaving active duty Blair came home to Spokane to work as a reporter for KHQ. He later joined the station’s sales department. Blair’s broadcast career was interrupted when he was recalled to serve in the Air Force as a combat intelligence officer in Korea. It was there he was awarded the bronze star.

Blair returned to KHQ in 1951 and soon became the station’s sales manager. In 1970 Blair became president and general manager at the station.

Blair blazed new paths and was highly involved with the community at his time at KHQ. He served two terms as president and chairman for the board of Washington State Association of Broadcasting, headed the legislative committee, and was named broadcaster of the year.

This story was written by KHQ Intern Erin O'Shaughnessy.

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