A critical force behind WSVN — a man responsible for creating the incredible look and feel and energy of 7News — has passed away.
Robert W. Leider — ”Bob” to his many friends and colleagues — was Executive Vice President and General Manager at the station for years — and he was a force in the community as well.
He was our rock, our mentor, our friend and tonight we say goodbye.
Not many people can say they have a boss who would pick up a mop.
“I always get crazy with water,” said Leider while mopping away flooding caused by Hurricane Irma. But that’s who Bob Leider was. Always. Bob slept on a cot along with the rest of the staff during around-the-clock hurricane coverage.
WSVN owner Ed Ansin remembered him as “the most wonderful person you could ever know. Just terrific in every way.”
Ansin hired Bob in 1974 to be the station’s national sales manager. He said he knew from day one Bob would become so much more.
“I realized he was somebody who just understood television and really liked the business,” said Ansin.
Just six years later, Mr. Ansin made Bob WSVN’s first executive vice president and general manager.
“You know Channel 7 is the only locally-owned station in South Florida?” said Leider in a vintage television promo.
Bob and Ed took WSVN from an NBC affiliate to an independent station and then transformed Channel 7 into South Florida’s news leader. A tough job, but Leider loved it and always did it with a smile, always ready to take the reins to drive us into the future.
But more importantly, he was Channel 7’s biggest cheerleader. Words of encouragement flowed freely from Bob. He wanted all employees to thrive and feel appreciated — traits that endeared him to everyone. Bob didn’t reserve his hard work and dedication to just the TV station. His impact was felt across South Florida.
“No one has believed in the Habitat mission more than Channel 7 Vice President and General Manager Bob Leider.”
“Bob loved Channel 7, loved working in the community,” said Ansin. “He is largely responsible for the Winterfest Boat Parade up in Fort Lauderdale.”
With Bob at the helm, Channel 7 and Winterfest worked together to turn the parade into the world-class event it has become today.
Also near and dear to Bob’s heart: helping deserving families own their first homes.
He served as a chairman of the board for Habitat for Humanity.
“We at Channel 7 are very proud to be associated with Habitat, and we have for many years,” said Leider on a construction site for Habitat for Humanity.
He also served with United Way, and even in retirement, his dedication did not stop.
“I talked to him all the time,” said Ansin. “People at the station talked to him all the time. He became even more involved in civic matters. Actually, he became invaluable in that sense.”
Invaluable in every sense of the word and impossible to know how many lives he touched over the decades, but what we do know is we lost a beautiful and fun spirit.
If you’d like to post a message for Bob’s family, you can do so below. Rather than flowers, the family is asking for donations to Habitat for Humanity.
Habitat for Humanity of Broward: https://www.habitatbroward.org/get-involved/donate/online-donation/