George Putnam was the pioneer television news anchorman and conservative commentator whose distinctive stentorian voice was a mainstay of Southern California broadcasting for decades.
Beginning at KTTV Channel 11 in the early 1950s, Putnam quickly became a dominant and influential force in Los Angeles TV news. The winner of three Emmy Awards, he reportedly was at one time the highest-rated and highest-paid TV news anchor in Los Angeles.
Putnam began his broadcast career on a Minneapolis radio station in 1934.
More than 70 years later, he was still at the microphone with his weekday noon to 2 p.m. "Talk Back With George Putnam" syndicated radio program.
When Putnam was working for NBC in New York in the early 1940s, influential newspaper columnist Walter Winchell declared that "George Putnam's voice is the greatest in radio."
But it was on television in Los Angeles a decade later that the tall, wavy-haired broadcaster with the rich baritone made his biggest mark.
On KTTV in the 1950s and early '60s, Putnam would conclude his early evening news broadcast with his signature theatrical flair.
"And that's the up-to-the-minute news, up to the minute, that's all the news," he would say, then add: "Back at 10, see you then!"
In late 1951, he was hired at KTTV, the independent station then owned by Times-Mirror Co., which also owned the Los Angeles Times, now owned by Tribune Co.
In the mid-1960s, Putnam moved to KTLA-TV Channel 5. He returned to KTTV after about two years and then moved back to KTLA in the early 1970s. Brief stints at KHJ-TV Channel 9 and KCOP-TV Channel 13 followed, including cohosting "Both Sides Now," a short-lived talk show with comedian Mort Sahl.
By the early 1980s, most of Putnam's professional life was devoted to his daily current-events radio talk show, which he launched on KIEV-AM (870) in 1976 and where he remained a fixture for nearly three decades.