Long-time FCC Commissioner James Quello has passed at the age of 95. He put in over 23 years at the FCC in a tenure that spanned from April 1974 to November 1997. A Democrat, he briefly served as interim Chairman for most of 1993 prior to Reed Hundt’s term in that office. He was one of the few actual broadcasters to serve at the FCC Commissioner level, with a stint at WJR Detroit prominent on his resume. He was also a decorated veteran of World War II.
National Association of Broadcaster President/CEO Gordon Smith was one of the first to offer a tribute to Quello, saying, “NAB mourns the passing of Jim Quello, who was a war hero, a friend to free and local broadcasting, and an extraordinarily bipartisan public servant during a remarkable 24 years at the FCC. We have lost an American original.”
RBR-TVBR observation: Quello was a pragmatic commissioner, who understood first hand the real life concerns of broadcasters. We could use another like him on the Commission right now, and at all times.
Remembering from colleagues and broadcasters:
Jim Quello was a great broadcaster and FCC Commissioner who brought wisdom and a great temperament to the job. His office was always open to visitors; he greeted you with an open mind and a strong desire to get the right result. He will be missed!
Gregg P. Skall
Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC
Jim Quello, a former General Manager of WJR, understood first-hand the way that broadcast stations served the public and throughout his long tenure at the FCC, championed policies to strengthen free off-the-air broadcasting.
Jim had extraordinary political skills. Beginning with his days as President of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, he maintained close relationships with key members of Congress. Senate and House Committee Chairmen respected his opinion and could be counted upon to provide support whenever Jim needed it.
Jim was a longtime personal friend. I had the privilege of assisting him during his contentious Senate confirmation hearings. Jim told me that John Pastore, Chairman of the Senate Communications Committee, pleaded with him to accept an appointment as a commissioner to an agency other than the FCC because of vocal opposition from labor and minority groups. Jim turned down the offer — a decision which redounded to the great benefit of the broadcasting industry.
Erwin G. Krasnow
Garvey Schubert Barer