Former Commissioner and acting Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) James H. Quello will be the recipient of the first Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award. The honor will be presented posthumously at the Broadcasters Foundation of America Breakfast on April 14 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas during the NAB Show. Quello died in January at the age of 95.
The Foundation said Quello is being recognized in particular for his lifelong advocacy of free, over-the-air broadcasting. Often referred to as the “Dean” of the FCC, where he served for more than 23 years, Quello played a pivotal role in the transformation of the communications industry and was one of the federal government’s top regulators during the unprecedented boom that brought new telecommunications options to the American public.
2010 is the inaugural year of the Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award which annually will honor a broadcaster whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy and entrepreneurship. The Broadcasters Foundation Board of Directors unanimously voted Quello as the first recipient from nominations submitted by the industry at large.
A Detroit broadcast executive, Quello managed WJR before ascending to vice president of Capital Cities Broadcasting. Following his retirement from government service, he remained an advocate for the industry for many years. He wrote editorials for the trade press, and maintained regular contact with FCC commissioners and Washington legislators well into his 90s in an effort to shape their views.
Over the course of his illustrious career, Quello was the recipient of numerous accolades, including a Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Broadcasters and the first Milestone Award from the Institute for Communications Law Studies at the Catholic University of America. He also was inducted into the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame and the Museum of Broadcast Communications’ Radio Hall of Fame. In 1998, his alma mater, Michigan State University, honored both Quello and his wife of more than 60 years, Mary, with the creation of the James H. Quello and Mary B. Quello Center for Telecommunication Management and Law.
A decorated World War II veteran, Quello saw combat in Europe, earning several commendations.