Sunday, September 28, 2003

Earle 'Bud' Gillis, former executive, promoter for WCET

By Karen Andrew
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Mr. Gillis

Earle H. "Bud'' Gillis Jr., a pioneer in educational television and a retired Channel 48 executive, worked in a number of capacities in his 46-year-broadcasting career.

As "Uncle Bud," he hosted a children's TV show with two monkeys in Columbus, Ohio, in the late 1950s and early 1960s. "He always drove around in a convertible car with the monkeys. When I and my sister, Nancy, visited him, all the kids would see him and yell 'Oh, there's Uncle Bud!' " said one of his nieces, Cindy Hoffman of Bethany, W.Va.

Mr. Ellis, 83, died of lung cancer Sept. 20 at the Wheeling (W.Va.) Continuous Care Center. He had been a resident of the Warwood Home for Men in Wheeling.

After earning his bachelor's degree in speech from the University of Illinois in 1941, he became employed as the chief radio announcer at WDAN radio in Danville, Ill., and a staff announcer at WGBF in Evansville, Ind.

Mr. Gillis entered the military as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army's Medical Administrative Corps' public relations in 1943 and was stationed in Camp Atterbury, Ind.

In 1946, Mr. Gillis returned to civilian life as an announcer and newscaster for WHKC in Columbus. He went on to work as program manager for WLWC, now WBMH, in Columbus from 1953 to 1962 and hosted his children's show.

In 1966, he married his childhood sweetheart, Charlotte Ann "Shine" Ellis.

Mr. Gillis became the first executive director of Ohio Educational Television Network Commission (1962-70) in Columbus, where he helped construct and operate a statewide TV network.

He became vice president of development for Cincinnati's WCET-48 in 1975. Responsible for fund-raising, he was often seen "on air" in the Action Auction pledge drives. During his 13 years at WCET, the station's budget doubled and the membership tripled.

He also reprised his role of "Uncle Bud" for children's programs.

Mr. Gillis retired in 1988.

Mr. Gillis' wife died in 1990, and a sister, Elizabeth Ann Reed, in 1998.

Survivors include nieces and nephews.

Services have been held.

Memorials: The Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation, 652 Main St., Cincinnati 45202 or WCET-Channel 48, 1223 Central Parkway, Cincinnati 45214.


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