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Martin Colby dies at 88

XETV chief was founding chairman of Fox Affiliate board

Martin Colby, a veteran TV executive who was the longtime general manager of San Diego’s XETV, one of the charter affiliates for the Fox network, and the founding chairman of the Fox Affiliate Board of Governors, died March 18. He was 88.

Colby produced programs for ABC and the Dumont network, was sales manager of the Triangle stations and then a sales exec at John Blair and Co. in New York. With experience programming, promoting and selling advertising on local stations around the U.S., Colby joined XETV as station manager in 1974. The outlet had lost its affiliation with ABC, and he transformed it into a successful independent with a new mix of programming.

Colby became the station’s VP-general manager in 1985.

Colby recognized the opportunity when Rupert Murdoch bought 20th Century Fox and the Metromedia stations to form the Fox network in 1986. XETV became the first non-Metromedia station to affiliate with Fox, and Colby was elected the founding chairman of the Fox Affiliate Board of Governors. He encouraged affiliated stations to adopt a consistent look and feel — to “Foxify,” as he called it.

Colby retired from XETV in 1996 and devoted himself to a production company he founded, Satellite Video Prods. He sold it in 2000.

Colby is survived by his wife, Marilyn, as well as children and grandchildren.

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