John von Soosten, a former programming exec at Katz Television who was president of NATPE in the mid-1980s, has died. He was 71. His family said he died April 13 in West Hempstead, NY, after a short illness.
Von Soosten started his career at the former WOR-TV New York before moving to Metromedia’s WNEW, where he rose from assistant production manager to VP, director of programming. In 1984, he became VP, director of programming at Katz Television Group, a title he held until 1993.
During that time, von Soosten was elected president of the National Association of Television Program Executives. He served as chairman of the group’s 1985 conference in San Francisco. He finished his TV career with a two-year stint as SVP-director of programming at Katz National Television in the mid-’90s.
He took a couple of radio gigs in the New York-New Jersey area before moving to XM Satellite Radio, where he hosted programs on its On Broadway showtunes channel and Frank’s Place, which was dedicated to the music of Frank Sinatra. Until recently, he hosted The Great American Songbook, a program on Nantucket’s NPR outlet WNCK.
He is survived by Linda, his wife of 45 years; and nephews Viktor Frengut and Ryan von Soosten.