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RCA Legend Jack Sauter Dies At 82

8/20/2007 02:00:00 AM Eastern

Jack Sauter, RCA veteran and CE Hall of Famer, passed away of pneumonia at 82.

Sauter had been ill for several months.

Sauter, a 1947 UCLA graduate, began his RCA career in 1950 as an advertising field representative, but made his mark on the CE industry as one who helped popularize color TV when it was introduced in 1954 and later as the executive responsible for RCA's adoption of the VHS VCR and the overall success of that product category within the industry.

"The industry lost a great one today," said Joe Clayton, Sirius Satellite Radio chairman, "He was an industry legend and a great innovator."

Sauter left RCA briefly in the 1960s but returned to the company to help create what was described by Dave Arland, RCA audio/video marketing VP, as one of the company's most profitable promotions ever.

"By 1974 color TV penetration had hit 75 percent, so Jack created a trade-in program where dealers took any old color or black-and-white TV, working and not working, and gave the customer $50 or $100 toward a new big-screen TV, which at the time was 25 inches. The program brought in $2 million," Arlen said.

"No one sold more RCA products. He was the finest marketing and promotions man I've ever seen," Clayton said.

Sauter retired from RCA in the 1987 as group VP. He was elected to the CE Hall of Fame in 2002.

He leaves behind his wife Sue, daughters Lisa and Betsy, son Jeff, step-son Michael and three granddaughters. Sauter's ashes will be scattered over the Atlantic Ocean off the Maine coast.