James C. Dowdle, played key role in WPIX history as pioneering Tribune leader, dies at 79

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James C. Dowdle brought Harry Caray to WGN, among his key achievements that turned Tribune Broadcasting into a national powerhouse. (Tribune Co. photo)

(PIX11) —  James C. Dowdle, who was instrumental in building PIX11 parent Tribune into what would become a national local television powerhouse, has died at 79.

He played a key role in WPIX’s history, raising its national profile in the 1980s as a superstation after years of operating largely independently from Tribune in Chicago.

Dowdle was with the company for nearly 20 years — and spearheaded Tribune’s expansion into major markets like Los Angeles and New Orleans.

He famously wooed away Harry Caray from the Chicago White Sox to anchor WGN’s coverage of Cub games. Dowdle was inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 1992.

He passed away on Monday in his home in suburban Chicago surrounded by his family

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