After 46 years in the television business, Arnold J. Kleiner, the longtime general manager of KABC-TV Channel 7, is retiring.
Kleiner joined KABC in February 1996 and was a chief architect of the channel's success. He helped elevate the Walt Disney Co.-owned station to its top-rated status in the Los Angeles market and brought a level of remarkable stability within an industry known for rapid turnover.
Indeed, Kleiner has had the same assistant, Verla Rammel, and the same news director, Cheryl Fair, throughout his entire tenure at KABC. Other top KABC executives are veterans too.
"It's a great place to work. I've had the great privilege of working with an amazing group of people," Kleiner said.
He will leave the station, located in Glendale, at the end of January.
Rebecca Campbell, president of the ABC-owned television station group, thanked Kleiner for his service. No replacement has been named.
Kleiner, a 71-year-old native of New York, is known in TV station circles as a wise sage. He also serves on the board of trustees of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the board of the Los Angeles chapter of Autism Speaks. He is a member of the NAACP and the L.A. Multicultural Leadership Coalition.
Kleiner served in the U.S. Army for two years, from 1962 to 1964.
Four years later, he joined Westinghouse Broadcasting as an account executive in Pittsburgh at KDKA Radio. In 1969, he moved into the television group and WJZ-TV in Baltimore.
Over the years, he worked in Chicago, Boston, New York and Philadelphia. After a third stint in Baltimore, Kleiner and his family headed west.
He was general manager of San Diego's KFMB-TV, the CBS affiliate. There, he also oversaw its AM/FM radio station. In 1996, he headed up the 5 Freeway for the KABC general manager post.
He and his wife, Carol, have lived in 14 houses during their 49-year marriage.
"It's been a journey," Kleiner said. "But interestingly, my three kids still talk to me -- and they all live around here in Los Angeles."
The Glendale Chamber of Commerce honored Kleiner as CEO of the Year six years ago.
"I’m very glad to have helped build KABC-TV into the great station it is today," Kleiner said. "I leave the station in good hands, and they can count on me to be their most loyal viewer.”