Kennedy helped found KSIX Radio in 1947 in Corpus Christi, followed by KZTV Channel 10 in 1956 and KVTV in Laredo in 1973.
He worked at the Austin news bureau of the International News Service before World War II and hired Cronkite, then a University of Texas student, to be a copy boy.
"I have a great deal of my career to thank him for," Cronkite was quoted as saying in Monday's edition of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. "I learned the principles of great journalism from him because he lived them.
"He was a man of such complete integrity I'd be surprised if anybody could come up with any time he failed the test of honesty, integrity, fairness - all qualities of a good journalist."
Kennedy, secretary of 10 Texas Democratic Party conventions, was a longtime adviser to President Lyndon B. Johnson.
He owned the broadcast properties until 2002, when he sold them to Eagle Creek Broadcasting Inc.
Kennedy is survived by his daughters, Kathleen Kennedy of Raleigh, N.C., and Laura Frances Waguespack of Dallas.
Visitation was to be held Tuesday night at Cage-Mills funeral home in Corpus Christi with a funeral scheduled for Wednesday at First United Methodist Church. He will be buried on Thursday in San Marcos.