Major George Robinson
He was an archaeologist, an author of several ornithology books, and a radio broadcaster/station manager for St. Petersburg’s WSUN Radio and TV. But few had any knowledge of Maj. George Digby Robinson’s earlier military career when he risked his life as a spy.
Born in 1895, Robinson grew up in London and received military training in high school. He attended the University of Oxford, earning his B.S. degree about the same time World War I broke out. He became one of the British Expeditionary Force’s original 60,000 troops sent to France in 1914 and later joined British Intelligence. During this time, he won the French Legion of Honor medal and befriended T.E. Lawrence, the man who would later be immortalized on film as Lawrence of Arabia.
Around 1921, Robinson moved to Ft. Myers. While selling real estate, he visited St. Petersburg and decided that the city was where he wanted to put down roots. He married about three years later and earned a living pumping gas and helping operate the Kaniss and Robinson Jewelry Store on Central Avenue.
While working near Philadelphia in the 1930’s, Robinson met renowned CBS broadcaster Lowell Thomas. Inspired by his broadcasting, he returned to St. Petersburg around 1938 and was granted a news show on WSUN Radio. Speaking with authority on the events of the world with his crisp, upper-class English accent, his “Major Robinson and the News” aired from 6 to 6:15 P.M. Monday through Friday for more than 15 years.
In 1948, Robinson became WSUN’s station manager and was instrumental in getting Tampa Bay’s first television station, WSUN-TV (Channel 38), up and on the air in 1953. With many radio staffers now doubling as television personalities, 38’s early programming schedule also included his evening 15-minute news program. The next year, after delivering more than 5,000 radio and TV newscasts, he retired at the age of 58.
The remainder of Robinson’s life was spent as a public speaker and author. He spoke to about every civic club in the city at one time or another and, in 1973, helped organize St. Petersburg’s chapter of the Florida Archaeological Society, even serving a stint as its president.
On September 3, 1980, Major Robinson died at his son’s home in St. Petersburg. He was 84.
1938 - 1954 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (On Air Personality)
1948 - 1954 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (Management)