Hugh Downs to speak at Arizona Town Hall fall luncheon

Television today bears little resemblance to the fledgling communications vehicle that existed in 1945, the year Hugh Downs made his TV debut from the still experimental studio of WBKB-TV now WBBM-TV Chicago. The remarkable evolution of that medium, as well as the myriad others Americans consume daily, will be the focus of Downs’ presentation, “Changes in the Media,” during the Arizona Town Hall’s Fall Luncheon, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, at the Wyndham Phoenix Downtown, 50 E. Adams St. His talk will incorporate the impact media has on our community, policies and its other influences.

It was 26 years ago that Downs first gained recognition from the Guinness Book of World Records as holding the record for the greatest number of hours on commercial network television. Although his broadcast career has spanned more than six decades, he is probably best known as the Emmy Award-winning co-anchor of the ABC News’ “20/20,” a primetime news magazine program (where he was paired with Barbara Walters), from the show’s second episode in 1978 until his retirement in 1999.

A longtime Valley resident, Downs is the author of 12 books. In recognition of Downs’ impact on the field of communication, Arizona State University is home to the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication.

Prior to the luncheon featuring Downs, a special silent auction will be held to benefit the ongoing work of the Arizona Town Hall. The luncheon will be a part of A Day of Civic Action with other Arizona organizations and will coincide with the National Conference on Citizenship.

Luncheon tickets are $125. Contact Tara Jackson at 602-252-9600 or visit