When Barry Barth started his TV career, radios outnumbered black-and-white TVs in American homes.
After more than 50 years in the broadcast industry, Barth has decided to retire.
He started as a teenage switchboard operator at a small station in South Bend, Ind., and his career will end this year as vice president and general manager of WFXG-TV, Augusta’s Fox affiliate.
Barth said the decision has been a long time coming.
“I’ve enjoyed my career. I’ve witnessed many changes in our industry, from color television to high-definition TV to social media and everything in between,” he said. “I feel like I want to travel and spend more time with my wife, Barbara, and our grandchildren.
“I love broadcasting, but I’m at a point when it’s time to do other things.”
Barth said more golf is in the picture, though he admits he’s not a great player.
“My wife and I both enjoy the outdoors, so we’ll continue with our daily walks,” he said. He and his wife of 43 years also enjoy riding their bicycles.
His favorite show is AMC’s Mad Men. He also enjoys watching Sunday NFL football.
“I enjoy watching the Falcons, the Bulldogs and Gamecocks. I’m also impressed with Augusta State University’s two-time NCAA golf champions,” he said.
Barth, 68, describes himself as an outgoing person who “feels much younger than my age.”
“I feel blessed to be a husband, a dad and a grandfather,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to an upcoming road trip to South Bend with my son to watch our Irish play football.”
Barth has a broadcast journalism degree from the University of Notre Dame.
His father, Bennie Barth, worked at WNDU-TV in South Bend in the 1930s. A brother, Pat Barth, also worked in sales there.
There’s a third generation in the industry with Kevin Barth, his youngest son, being named vice president and sales director at New York’s WCBS-TV, the flagship station for CBS.
Barry Barth’s career took him to Dayton, Ohio; Miami; Buffalo, N.Y.; Hartford, Conn.; and Spokane, Wash.
In 2003, he accepted the position at WFXG after working for a Clear Channel TV division in Fresno, Calif.
Looking back at his nine-year Augusta tenure, Barth said he is proud of launching a locally produced
10 p.m. newscast last year, in conjunction with WTOC-TV in Savannah.
“Barbara and I are happy to be here,” he said. “We would love to be closer to our kids and grandkids. But there’s no grand scheme or plan for us to leave anytime soon.”