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April 26, 2009

William T. Cochran Dies

Broadcast Pioneer Was 90

William T. Cochran Dies

Broadcast Pioneer Was 90


William T. Cochran, a pioneering radio and TV broadcaster at NBC in New York and a familiar face in commercials for Dristan nasal decongestant, passed away on April 26, 2009, at his home in Reno, Nev. He was 90 years old.

Cochran was a page and later an on-air announcer at NBC before he was drafted into the U.S. Air Force in 1942. After the war and a stint at radio station WIOD in Miami, Cochran rejoined NBC as a broadcaster for both the Red Network’s WEAF and the Blue Network’s WJZ, which later became ABC.

In 1955, the brand that would become Dristan invited him to be its television pitchman and the face of its billboard and subway car advertising. The success of the campaign made Cochran one of the most recognizable faces on TV.

In addition to his broadcast work, Cochran was a captain and decorated war hero with the Air Force, earning the Purple Heart after being wounded in Word War II. He also received the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Silver Star and the Bronze Star, which was presented by General George S. Patton.

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