Ray Cole runs in some impressive circles.
Scroll through his Twitter or Facebook feeds and you’ll see countless pictures with celebrities and notable broadcast executives from across the country.
His rise to know some of the most famous people in television broadcasting began in 1976 with an internship at KCAU in Sioux City while a student at Briar Cliff University. He eventually became the station’s general manager before coming to Des Moines where he was also a general manager for a local station. Currently, Cole serves on the board of directors for the Broadcasters Foundation of America.
“It’s as amazing as it is humbling to reflect on the myriad relationships forged over the course of an otherwise average broadcasting career now spanning six decades,” Cole said.
One of his closest friends is ESPN sports announcer Dick Vitale who, amongst others, is part of the reason Cole continues to serve on various committees with the Jimmy V Foundation for cancer research.
His most recent book ‘Hanging With Winners’ tells the stories of encounters with notable personalities who shaped Cole’s life. All proceeds from the book have been donated to charitable efforts through Blanks Children’s Hospital, Variety the Children’s Charity, The Robert D and Billie Ray Center, The V Foundation and Broadcasters Foundation of America.
“It’s about the relentless pursuit of becoming the best version of ourselves possible. It’s all about making the most of each and every one of our ‘winning’ qualities by fanning even the smallest sparks of possibility into a bonfire of success,” Cole said.
In May, Cole will join a prestigious group of broadcasters and executives in the next class of the Broadcast+Cable Hall of Fame which pays tribute to the pioneers, innovators and stars of broadcast, cable and broadband television.
“It dawned on me what a special honor this was when taking note of the fact that many of those on the honor roll of previous inductees into this prestigious Hall of Fame were among the ‘winners’ profiled in my book: Bob Iger, George Bodenheimer, Peter Jennings, Ted Koppel, Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer, Robin Roberts, Howard Cosell and Michael J. Fox. And the only other native Iowan to be so honored? Johnny Carson. That’s pretty special. To join them and all the other prior inductees is as humbling as it is gratifying,” Cole said.
Cole joins legendary late night show host Johnny Carson as the only other Iowan to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.