Ken Matz started his broadcasting career at WRAW Radio (1340 on AM) in Reading, Pennsylvania during 1964. After a couple of years, Ken moved up to Harrisburg, PA and WFEC (1400 on AM), now WTCY.
Using the air name of “Gary Smith,” Ken was with the station from 1966 to 1969 when he returned to his hometown of Philadelphia and WIBG, Radio 99. Ken e-mailed: in Harrisburg, I only used 'Gary Smith' for a couple of months, because there was already a guy there named Ken Meese. After Meese left for WBT in Charlotte, I resumed using my own name. “
Matz was both a successful jock and newscaster for WIBG from 1969 to 1976. Then it was on to KYW Newsradio. After that Ken went to several other stations before ending up at Channel 6 in Miami, Florida, which was WCIX-TV at that time. Ken was at WCIX from September of 1990 to December of 1992. WCIX-TV is now WFOR and operates on Channel 4.
When Broadcast Pioneers member Larry Kane jumped ship at Channel 10, WCAU-TV and landed at KYW-TV, he was replaced with Ken Matz. Ken stayed at Channel 10 until 1998.
In 1995, Ken Matz was co-anchoring the 6 pm and 11 pm Channel 10 news (still owned by CBS at that time) with Jane Robelot. Jane’s last day was March 17th and a few days later, on Monday, March 20th, she premiered as co-anchor of the CBS Morning News, along with Troy Roberts. Renee Chenault replaced Robelot on Channel 10.
Now at WCAU-TV, WCIX-TV would still play a role. To make a long story short, Westinghouse Broadcasting (owner of KYW-TV) purchased CBS. CBS owned WCAU-TV at that time. FCC rules prohibited Westinghouse (and CBS) from owning two stations in the same market (Philly is the 4th market) so one had to be sold and that was WCAU-TV. NBC wanted to buy it for cash, but Westinghouse would have none of it.
Westinghouse also changed the affiliation of two of their stations (WBZ in Boston and in WJZ in Baltimore) to CBS. To avoid paying a huge tax on the profit that would be involved in a Channel 10 sale, it was officially a trade. NBC got WCAU-TV (a plum in broadcasting). CBS got KUTV, Salt Lake City, Utah (the 36th market) and KCNC in Denver, Colorado (the 18th market).
The deal also included a flip of stations in Miami, Florida (the 17th market). NBC owned WTVJ-TV, Channel 4. CBS owned WCIX-TV, Channel 6. They traded stations. NBC went from Channel 4 to Channel 6 taking their WTVJ-TV call letters with them and CBS went from Channel 6 to Channel 4 and changed their call letters from WCIX-TV to WFOR-TV.
When you look at the service coverage areas for Channel 4 and 6 in Miami, Channel 4 goes about 25 additional miles north in comparison to Channel 6. That’s where the population is. So it was a beneficial trade for CBS.
In September of 1997, Broadcast Pioneers member Larry Mendte left the nationally syndicated “Access Hollywood.” Co-owner of the show, NBC, also owned WCAU. Larry came to Philly to co-anchor with Renee Chenault, the 11 pm news and the new 4 pm Channel 10 newscast. Matz continued anchoring the 6 pm news until the next year.
Ken Matz was retired and living in Florida. He’s a member of both George Allen’s Media Round Table and the Media Forum, previously called “The Florida Broadcast Pioneers.” Ken says that he still does an occasional voice-over from time to time and keeps busy “with tennis, biking, and fixing all my neighbors computers.”
On Saturday morning, January 23, 2010 in Harrisburg, Pa., Ken Matz passed away from cancer.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Written and researched by Broadcast Pioneers historian Gerry Wilkinson
Photo originally donated by Ken Matz
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