Jack Galmiche, who spent more than two decades transforming public television from "classroom in a box" into a digital resource that engages the entire community, has died. He was 71.
His efforts were on full display in August 2015, when hundreds gathered on the new Public Media Commons for the preview of "Whose Streets," the acclaimed documentary about the unrest following the killing of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer in 2014.
The diverse crowd watched the film on screens two stories high situated on the open-air commons between Nine Network and St. Louis Public Radio in Grand Center. The commons was Galmiche’s brainchild. He told Landscape Architecture Magazine in 2015 that when he envisioned it, “That was the type of night that I dreamed.”
Galmiche, who returned home to St. Louis to lead Nine Network (KETC Channel 9) in 2006, died Tuesday, April 16.
“Jack was a strong leader,” said David Steward II, chair of the Nine Network board of directors, in a statement. “Under his direction, the station flourished. His mission to inspire the community through public media will live on.”
An Extraordinary Treasure
In addition to the commons, under Galmiche’s leadership, Nine Network helped the community explore solutions to issues like the mortgage crisis, declining graduation rates and the gap between employment skills and available jobs in the St. Louis region.
In February, he accepted America's Public Television Stations Pillar of Public Service Award for those efforts.
"Under Jack's inspiring leadership, Nine Network has set a high standard for every station in our system to pursue the mission of civic leadership,” said APTS president and CEO Patrick Butler at the Washington, D.C. awards program.
Galmiche, with characteristic grace, accepted the award by promising to continue working “to strengthen this extraordinary treasure of public media.”
Through hundreds of hours of locally produced programming, Galmiche made Nine Network among the most-watched public television stations in the PBS system with one of the most highly rated audiences for full-day viewing.
The Digital Age
Galmiche successfully shepherded the station into civic engagement through technology, expanding the reach of the station's programming through four local channels and the infinite world of the internet. He established the Nine Center for Public Engagement to produce new forms of digital media and online content.
He helmed a national initiative, American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen, to help struggling students remain in high school. More than 100 public media stations have adopted the initiative.
Prior to joining Nine Network, Galmiche managed a statewide network of public television and radio stations for Oregon Public Broadcasting. There, he introduced the popular PBS series "History Detectives Special Investigations," an hour-long series that searches for answers to mysteries from America’s past.
Before devoting himself to public television, Galmiche was president and chief executive officer of Interactive Systems, Inc.
A Trusted Place
John Edward “Jack” Galmiche III was one of four sons of Gladys Marie Galmiche and John E. “Jack” Galmiche Jr., the founder of Galmiche and Sons Heating and Cooling.
After graduating from Augustinian Academy High School in 1966, Galmiche earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Business Management from St. Louis University.
His mother had considered Channel 9 “a safe and trusted place for learning” for her children. Her passion for educational television eventually led him to his life’s work.
“Jack was a hard-charging, bright and intelligent leader,” said Board Chair Emeritus Steve Frank in a statement. “I am honored that he was my good friend for 30-plus years.”
Galmiche was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, James.
Among Galmiche’s survivors are his wife, Rosemary; four children, Christina, Jennifer, Abigail and John, and two brothers, Jeffrey and Jay.
Funeral arrangements are pending.