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Cronkite Professor Writes Book Chronicling History of Arizona’s Broadcast Television

April 19, 2019
John Craft

Cronkite School professor John E. Craft released "Images of America: Phoenix Television," a book that explores local broadcast television over the decades.

John E. Craft, a professor at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is the author of a new book chronicling the history of commercial television in Phoenix.

“Images of America: Phoenix Television,” which was released this month, is a highly visual exploration chronicling the history of local broadcast television over the past 70 years. The book illustrates the rise of television’s popularity following World War II as well as the role of local news stations, starting with KPHO-TV, Arizona’s first on-air TV station.

Craft and co-author Lisa Honebrink said they wanted to give readers a behind-the-scenes look at past and present on-air personalities, programs and other significant moments that have shaped society and, specifically, the lifestyles of Phoenicians.

“I’m very interested in history; we don’t want history to be lost,” Craft said. “I’m interested in making sure people know that there was communication before the internet.”

Craft explained that he and Honebrink, a former radio producer, began their research into Phoenix’s TV history by reaching out to local stations. After discovering most stations do not keep photographs, the two began contacting people who had worked at the stations.

Both Craft and Honebrink are board members of the House of Broadcasting, a local nonprofit committed to preserving Arizona’s TV and radio broadcasting history. Royalties from “Phoenix Television” will go toward scholarships for Cronkite students through donations to the House of Broadcasting Television and Radio Museum Scholarship.

“Professor Craft has long shared his passion for history and his knowledge of the local television market with his students,” said Cronkite Senior Associate Dean Kristin Gilger. “With this book, the public now has access to an important slice of Phoenix history, and our students also will benefit.”

Changing Hands in Phoenix is hosting a book signing at 7 p.m. Friday, May 17. Craft and Honebrink also will speak at Sunnyslope Historical Society & Museum from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 25.

Craft, a senior faculty member and curator of the Cronkite Gallery, which houses journalism artifacts, has taught at the Cronkite School for nearly 45 years. Courses he has taught include broadcast production, direction, station operations, announcing and documentary. He is the author of six books, including a major textbook on American electronic media.

Prior moving to Arizona in 1973, Craft taught media courses at Ohio University and the Hancock County branch of West Liberty State College in West Virginia in addition to working in instructional media. He earned his Ph.D. from Ohio University.