Robert A. Hatch

PR exec

PR exec Robert A. Hatch, who helped get “Sesame Street” on the air in 1969, died June 16 of heart failure at his home in Santa Barbara, Calif. He was 75.

Born in Salt Lake City, Hatch earned a degree in political science from Utah State U. and later studied journalism at Northwestern U.

After working as a newspaper editor and reporter, Hatch joined PR firm Carl Byoir & Associates in 1957. In 1965 he took a leave from the firm and became deputy director of public information for the Peace Corps.

Returning to Byoir, in 1969 he became the account exec for the Children’s Television Workshop, which he joined in 1972 as veepee for public affairs.

Before “Sesame Street” bowed Nov. 19, 1969, Hatch helped solicit support for the idea of TV as an educational tool among parents, in Congress and among educators.

His work for CTW earned Hatch four Silver Anvil Awards from the Public Relations Society of America for building the large audiences for “Sesame Street” and its companion series on reading, “The Electric Company,” both of which aired on PBS.

He’s survived by wife Linda, a son, a daughter, a brother and a sister.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Santa Barbara Intl. Film Festival, Hatch had been a member of the fest’s board of directors since 1996.

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