‘Remarkable in many ways’: WHDH owner Ed Ansin’s children reflect on their father’s success

Ed Ansin, the owner of WHDH and WLVI, passed away Sunday at the age of 84. He is survived by his children, Andy, James and Stephanie, who remember their father as a gentle, kind leader admired by all who worked for him.

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“He was remarkable in many ways, not with just how he was with us and the family and teaching me,” Andy said.

“I think because they saw the way my father worked in that he really enjoyed it, and they enjoyed working with him,” James added. “I think everyone thought they were partners as well.”

Ansin had told the Boston Globe, “I want to die with my boots on” and that’s what he did. Ansin was in the Miami office just this past Friday still doing what he loved. To him, it was not work.

“Because it really was the love of his life,” James said. “He was so connected to South Florida and the news and it never ended; it never stopped.”

His employees certainly admired him and he was beloved by both his children and grandchildren.

“He was fun but he was tough. He wouldn’t let anything slide,” James said. “It was the same thing. He was very disciplined.”

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Andy joked that growing up, he never knew just how successful his father was.

“He also didn’t spoil us, much to our annoyance. He could have,” he said. “I didn’t find out that he was as wealthy, that our family was as wealthy as we are, until my junior year in college. And, in fact, it was because Forbes magazine listed it. I had no idea. My friends like, ‘Hey, your dad is in Forbes.'”

Ansin was incredibly generous. He was one of the few business owners who funded pensions for his employees even though financial experts advised him otherwise.

“And once in a while an accountant would bring up, ‘Should we change our plan from a pension?'” James recalled. Ansin would reply, “Absolutely no! I’m committed to our family.”

When he was not at work, the mogul loved to hike. But, of course, the business was always on his mind.

“But really it was like a father-son retreat,” Andy said. “We would talk about business and life and relationships for days.”

He said his father may have recently won his greatest success in business when he spearheaded WHDH’s transition away from NBC.

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WHDH became an independent station. Ansin liked being beholden to no one and came up with a game plan, pouring even more resources into the news operation, and airing the game show Family Feud in prime time. And those bold decisions paid off.

“And in some ways the timing of his death couldn’t be any better because this was his proudest moment…to be the only independent station to be number one in prime time in the entire country,” Andy said.

With the passing of their father, the children will now move forward remembering the advice he left behind: Owning TV stations brings a responsibility to serve the community.

“With the news station here locally we can provide that service and it’s important for us to continue to provide that service,” Andy said. “It’s really a great responsibility as a local person to do that.”

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In the footsteps of an extraordinary man, his children will now set out on the path he laid for them.

“And he worked so hard for his legacy to continue,” James said. “And that we would be positioned no matter what happened to him, or to us. That the company can continue.”

Ansin may be gone, but his memory and his legacy will last forever.

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