Inland Empire Media Mogul Bill Anthony Dies at 75
Publisher’s Inland Empire Business Journal was precursor to economic growth in region
Submitted by Robert Bledsoe who worked with Anthony for seven years – Former Inland Empire TV News producer and news director.
Visionary local publisher and media owner Bill Anthony died August 12, 2014 from complications of respiratory failure. Anthony was best known as the publisher of the Inland Empire Business Journal (IEBJ) for the past 25 Years. Bill’s health had been declining suffering from kidney failure three years ago. However, he kept diligently working and those who knew him said he never lost the passion to make the Journal each month.
Bill’s memorial service will be held on September 12, 2014 at The Crossing, The Loft Building, 2115 Newport Boulevard, Costa Mesa, CA 92627 at 1:00 p.m. Those who wish to attend are advised to park in the parking structure. In lieu of flowers, please donate to The Trellis-Homeless Project at 303 23rdStreet, Costa Mesa, CA 92627.
Bill is survived by his wife, Ingrid, his two daughters, Christine and Joann, sons-in-laws, David and Todd and four grandchildren.
Along with his wife, Ingrid Anthony, Bill founded the Inland Empire Business Journal in 1989 as a monthly magazine exclusively covering business news in the Inland Empire (San Bernardino and Riverside counties). It was the first such publication in the region and an indication of the massive economic growth the two counties would soon see. Associates say Anthony was always quick to point out how crazy everyone thought he was when he began theJournal.
At the 2012 ceremony when Cal State San Bernardino’s library archived every issue of The IEBJ, Bill explained, “Back when Ingrid and I started in 1989, everyone told me, ‘Bill, there isn’t any business in the Inland Empire except dairy farms and military bases.’ But we ignored them and saw the banks and developers investing in this area and knew it was only a matter of time before the region took off.”
The first issue of the Inland Empire Business Journal was published on April 17, 1989 and featured an article that predicted an upcoming economic recession. A recession hit the United States economy 15 months later. The first issue also began what became a hallmark feature of the IEBJ – lists. The first lists published were for the Largest Residential Real Estate Builders in the Inland Empire, as well as the largest HMO’s and PPO’s. The IEBJ would go on to publish an annual “Book of Lists”, which cataloged a vast amount of key business indicators and the companies behind them, from top employers to the largest hotels.
PBS’ Hispanic Lifestyle TV show creator and producer Richard Sandoval, a former business editor with IEBJ, acknowledged the deep debt of gratitude that he and others feel toward Anthony for giving them their start in media.
“I would not be in the business I am today without Bill Anthony,” Sandoval said. “He started many careers, including my own, and laid out the blueprint of how to run a regional media business. He also figured out how to create an audience where none existed prior. He was a true innovator, who did not copy others; but instead, succeeded by doing what no others had done before.”
Anthony and his wife also began creating business conferences for working professionals shortly after creating the Journal. The most famous became theWomen in Business Expo, which ran annually from 1990 to 2007. Other conferences included the Inland Empire Economic Forecast Conference and theFuture 2000.
In 1994, Bill began another enterprise that would be another first for the fast-growing Inland Empire region: it’s first TV newscast. The Inland Empire TV News (IETVN) was a daily 30-minute news program that first began airing on the local cable public service stations. Eventually, Anthony struck a deal to air the news on KPXN, channel 38, which would become part of the new Pax TV network. The show was run in standard local news format, with two anchors reading headlines, and outside reporters producing field pieces, along with in-studio entertainment, sports and weather reports. IETVN ran until 2000, after NBC bought a 32% share in Pax TV and the network began running KNBC newscasts to fulfill its broadcast requirements for local programming.
IETVN was noted for its weekly restaurant reviews, hosted by Anthony himself. Each had a self-deprecating, humorous take on Anthony’s dining experience and rated the restaurant in number of pigs. The graphic for the pigs was a photo of Anthony’s face on a pig’s body and sound effects were added to shots of him eating to exaggerate his hunger. He frequently reviewed the restaurants with IETVN co-anchor and AM 1510 personality Joe Lyons, along with guests that included notable business persons from the Inland Empire.
Emmy-winning reporter for KCBS/ KCAL and NBC4, and owner of Instantriverside.com, Craig Fiegener was the IETVN’s first News Director.
“Bill’s vision was for hyper-local news before anyone understood that term,” remembered Fiegener. ” I remember on June 17, 1994 O.J. Simpson became a wanted fugitive, the world was watching his chase. Bill could have scrapped the newscast for that day, however he wasn’t fazed. We broadcast our local program that day as usual. I believe Bill’s vision grew out of a desire to end the thinking that the Inland Empire was second to Orange County or Los Angeles. For me that is one of his greatest legacies,”
Anthony’s other ventures in TV included the PBS show Southern California Business Focus and the public affairs program Southern Exposure, along withOntario In-Focus, a half hour weekly program produced for the city of Ontario. He was also the host of several business and leisure-themed radio programs, including Time Out, on AM1510 KSPA, as well as a connoisseur of fine wine who helped found and co-owned the New World International Wine Competition.
Anthony received a number of awards and wore many hats over the years, including being involved with the Children’s Fund, Chaffey College Foundation, The A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management, Leukemia Society, California State University San Bernardino, The Unforgettables and many Inland Empire Chambers of Commerce. In October 2011, Anthony initiated an event called Community Cupid, which provided weddings for ten military couples returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Ingrid Anthony recalled, “This was quite an undertaking for him and the local community leaders he partnered with. It held very fond memories for him.”
Bill was born in New York City on August 9, 1939 and moved to California in 1966. He lived in Huntington Beach for the past 43 years. Prior to founding the Journal, Anthony was a partner in a computer school and was involved in construction projects in the Orange County and Los Angeles area.
A number of other notable people worked with Anthony over the years including:
Bill Ruh – Mayor Pro Tem, City of Montclair
Olga Ospina – Weathercaster for FOX 11 News, former reporter for KTLA
Sid Garcia – ABC7 reporter
Gitika Ahuja Kaul – Four-time Emmy Award winning television news producer, Coordinating Producer – ABC News, Producer – Good Morning America