Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ed Joyce | Ousted CBS News chief, 81

Ed Joyce, 81, a former president of CBS News whose brief, turbulent tenure in the 1980s was marked by threatened corporate takeovers and settlement of a damaging libel suit from Gen. William Westmoreland, died Saturday at his home in Redding, Conn.

Mr. Joyce, who retired at 55 and spent most of the years since as a horseman and civic leader in California's Santa Ynez Valley, had throat cancer.

He was the storied news operation's president from 1983 until he was squeezed out in 1986.

The immediate cause of his departure, he said in his 561-page, 1988 memoir, Prime Times, Bad Times, was his long conflict with Dan Rather. Mr. Joyce had criticized Rather's high salary, mercurial personality, news delivery, and his agent, whom Mr. Joyce called a "flesh-peddler."

Shortly before he was fired, his boss, Gene Jankowski, gave him a signal of his imminent demise. "There are lots of presidents," he quoted Jankowski as telling him. "There's only one Dan Rather."

Mr. Joyce rose to the top amid problems that have since become endemic to the news business. With shareholders demanding more profits, he instituted layoffs on an unprecedented scale in his division. Some of the 74 employees who were fired were given 48 hours to clear out - a gaffe Mr. Joyce later explained by saying that he wanted to disrupt news-gathering as little as possible.

Mr. Joyce worked at radio stations in Cody, Wyo.; Utica, N.Y.; and Schenectady, N.Y., before landing a jazz show at WCBS in New York. - L.A. Times

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