Winthrop “Win” Patterson Baker Jr., innovative Westinghouse Broadcasting TV exec who later built up the ramped up a deluxe chain of bed-and-breakfasts in New England, died Saturday June 7 in Norwalk, Conn., from pulmonary fibrosis. He was 71.
Manhattan native — who could trace his lineage to the Mayflower and the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony — grew up in New Orleans, graduated in business administration from Louisiana State and became a director at a New Orleans TV station before nabbing management posts at stations in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Peoria, Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, then was named prexy of Westinghouse Broadcasting in 1973, holding that post until 1979. He later became president and general manager of WNEV-TV in Boston, now WHDH. He retired in 1984.
He is credited with producing, directing and writing hundreds programs during his career plus helping develop formats that still endure, particularly “PM Magazine” in the 1970s, which predated many of the now-ubiquitous magazine-style programs. (And as has been often cited, during his tenure the Westinghouse station in Baltimore began running a morning talkshow with a young Oprah Winfrey.)
At the time of his death, he was operating the ornate, high-end Legendary Inns of Newport, putting to use his love of antiques.
He survived by his wife of 47 years, Elizabeth Allegret Baker; three sons; and seven grandchildren.