Herbert Muschel, who created the PR Newswire and founded one of the precursors of TV Guide magazine, died Nov. 1 in New York City. He was 85.
Born and raised on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, he graduated from NYU with a degree in journalism and later served in the merchant marine during WWII as a radio operator and purser. His wartime experience ignited his interest in communications.
In the late 1940s he developed a magazine called TeleVision Guide that provided New York consumers with a ready roadmap to TV programming, including times, channels and snapshot summaries. Mag was ultimately sold to Walter Annenberg’s Triangle Publications and eventually became known as TV Guide.
Muschel also pioneered the publishing and wide distribution — in booklet form — of the CBS radio program “Invitation to Learning,” which featured celebs in roundtable discussions on classic and popular literature.
In 1954, at a time when the FCC allowed only Western Union and AT&T to send printed messages to a third person, Muschel pioneered the commercial newswire industry with the creation of PR Newswire, which sent press releases directly to newsrooms, allowing press releases to be treated as breaking news for the first time. Muschel sold the business to Western Union in 1971. It is now owned by United Business Media of London.
Today PR Newswire provides electronic distribution, targeting and measurement services for some 40,000 customers worldwide, including more than half of the publicly traded companies in the U.S. It has offices in 14 countries and routinely sends its customers’ news to outlets in 135 countries in 27 languages.
Muschel is survived by his wife, Dollie.