foty tomTom Foty

Class of 1970

Inducted 2008

Tom Foty's journey to professional success began with adversity. He was born in Budapest and was a child during the ill-fated Hungarian uprising against the Stalinist regime in 1956. Trying to avoid Soviet tanks, he was trapped in an underground shelter for days. He and his family emerged to find their home had been leveled. They left Hungary and arrived in the United States on Christmas Day, 1956.

Foty grew up in New York and thought about becoming a lawyer. By the time he got to City College, he had dropped that idea. He got the radio bug in early 1968 by joining WCCR, the College station. As station manager, Foty shepherded its expansion into wireless transmission and the reporting of national and international news. During the campus unrest of the late 1960s, he was among several student stringers for mainstream media. In addition to contributing stories to The Associated Press and The New York Daily News, he assisted WINS radio, where he eventually obtained an entry-level job.

Upon graduation, Foty remained at WINS for two years, first as a desk assistant, then as a news writer. In 1974, after a brief period as a broadcast tech at WOR-FM and a New York stringer for the nascent National Public Radio, he was hired by United Press International's radio network. Major stories

foty tom democratic national convention
At the Democratic National Convention, 1984 . . .

ensued and Foty covered them: the 1975 New York fiscal crisis, the 1976 Democratic convention and the 1977 blackout. He moved to Washington and covered Congress, the State Department and the White House, in addition to working on such breaking stories as the Three Mile Island nuclear plant accident, the People’s Temple mass suicide and murders in Guyana, the attempted assassination of President Reagan, the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo and the 1984 Democratic convention in San Francisco. He was named Washington bureau manager and then promoted to executive editor of UPI Radio, supervising the shift of its headquarters from New York to Washington.

He then joined NBC Radio News as a Washington-based correspondent, and was deputy Washington bureau chief when the company was acquired by Westwood One. Foty became responsible for Westwood One’s news technology system and oversaw the purchase and operation of its first news computer. His next stop was Unistar Radio Networks (formerly RKO) as day-to-day manager.

With industry consolidation and technological changes, Foty turned to consulting. He was a co-founder of AudioCenter Productions, one of the early

foty tom olympics in sarajevo
. . . and at the Olympics in Sarajevo, same year.

Internet audio and video streaming services, providing technology advice to the BBC, Gannett’s USA Today Sky Radio, and ABC News Radio. In 1997, while still running AudioCenter, Foty returned to his radio roots. After a year at the all-news WTOP as a reporter and technical advisor, he joined CBS Radio. On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 he was on his way to work when he saw smoke rising from the Pentagon. He immediately settled in to anchor dozens of CBS Radio updates throughout that day. As a reporter, he was a member of the award-winning staff that covered the Bush-Gore presidential recount in 2000 and the D.C.-area sniper shootings of 2002 as well as the attacks of Sept. 11.

In his spare time, he maintains his links to the past – running an Internet discussion group for former UPI employees and assembling an online library of old WCCR photos and audio clips that he shares with his CCNY colleagues from the old radio days.