This is a sad day for those of us who work at GLT, and in many respects, for a lot of people at Illinois State University and in Bloomington-Normal. Ben Paxton, who helped found WGLT as its first general manager in 1966 has died at the age of 88.
Paxton served as GLT's GM from 1966 to 1991, when he hired his replacement, Bruce Bergethon. Together the two men managed the station for 50 years, with Bergethon retiring at the beginning of this year.
One of the staffers Paxton hired at GLT in the mid-1980s was local musician Marc Boon, who served 15 years as a staff announcer and music director. “Ben listened to everyone – I mean, really listened,” Boon said. "That made him not only a great boss, but a great person in radio."
During an interview with Bergethon this past February, Paxton said he took satisfaction in seeing what WGLT has become. “The station was challenged so, and yet committee after committee (from the University) ultimately turned in support of the station," Paxton said. “This station has developed and grown and become a part of this community in some real ways."
Paxton died Saturday, March 5. He is survived by his wife Ann, and daughters Kathy, Mary, Judy and Amy. A life celebration is planned for a date to be determined.