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Ralph W. Gabbard

Ralph W. Gabbard

2013

Improved broadcast journalism as manager of WKYT-TV in Lexington and founder of WYMT-TV in Hazard. A native of Berea, he started working in radio during high school, became a station manager, then joined Lexington’s WVLK. When station owner Garvice Kincaid bought WKYT, Gabbard moved to the TV station, becoming sales manager and then, at 29, the youngest manager of a Top 100 network affiliate. He expanded its news department, which gained top ratings and the largest Kentucky news audience of any station, and supported Kentucky Educational Television’s public-affairs programming. He led the station’s purchase of a small station in Hazard and turned it into the leading news source in Eastern Kentucky. He served as TV board chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters and chairman of CBS affiliates, and was CEO of Gray Broadcasting at the time of his death in 1996.