By Gary Walker
More than 3,450 hours of public affairs programming produced and hosted by veteran television journalist and former Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl are now catalogued for the ages in a special archive at Loyola Marymount University.
LMU celebrated the opening of its “Bill Rosendahl – Adelphia Communications Corporation Collection of Public Affairs Television Programs” on Oct. 22 with a ceremony on campus where the prolific interviewer found himself being interviewed.
The discussion led by political science professor Fernando Guerra included two frequent Rosendahl interview subjects: former California Gov. Gray Davis and former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan.
Davis said shows hosted by Rosendahl, who later represented Westside communities on the L.A. City Council for eight years, provided a unique platform for those interested in public affairs.
“In the era before Twitter and Facebook, Bill’s show was really the outlet for people who wanted to meet their legislator, their congressperson or supervisor,” Davis said. “It was a wonderful forum, very welcoming, and it was place where anyone could have their say.”
Rosendahl’s programs “had the brightest most interesting people to question you,” said Riordan. “The panels of people that he had asking questions were people that you see all over the place on TV now.”
Housed in the William H. Hannon Library, the collection spans 16 years of Rosendahl’s broadcast career.
“We let people express themselves in a way that they felt comfortable, but we still informed the public, which was what we always wanted to do,” said Rosendahl, who recalled that his first guest was then-Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley.
Rosendahl, who later became an executive at Adelphia Communications, credited former owner Leonard Tow with letting him structure the programs according to his very inclusive vision.
“It’s an honor and a privilege that LMU would have these archives of 16 unfettered years [of programming] that they can give to their students so they can study them and maybe be inspired by them,” Rosendahl said.