William O


The broadcasters of America have lost our greatest statesman.

Ward Quaal was also a seminal figure in the modernization of his beloved Broadcasters Foundation of America.  He set the groundwork and provided the vision which led us into the dynamic development of the McLaughlin and Lombardo years. 

I enjoyed an almost 40-year correspondence with him.  He was a reliable and generous resource and an inexhaustible font of wisdom on all the great issues of the day.   I was only one of thousands who consulted Ward on matters both professional and personal.  On countless occasions over the years, we would hear his big, booming sonorous, benevolent basso profoundo voice on the telephone and at all our high councils. 

No one every spoke more powerfully or with greater eloquence on our precious First Amendment rights.  All the rest of us, less gifted, appropriated, borrowed, purloined, plagiarized – actually we stole – from his vast store of knowledge and goodness on every fundamental Free Speech contretemps which erupted in the public discourse during the last four decades.  

And, always, in every season, he was a man of great dignity, stature and carriage.  His advice and counsel was always given so freely and gently and generously.  He advised presidents, powerful congressmen and the solons of the Senate as well as the corporate panjandrums and elders of our profession.  His advice was also sought by FCC chairmen, congressional committees and by three generations of broadcasters. 

His enormous influence was felt far beyond even the mighty signal of WGN, the legendary midwestern powerhouse over which he presided for so many years.

He was also a valued consultor to three generations of the Taishoff family … encouraging their essential and highly valuable work as our sentinels on the Potomac against government intrusion.  

Ward Quaal’s last gift to us was his encouragement to use his illustrious name for the Ward L. Quaal Pioneer Awards enabling us to raise hundreds of thousands in contributions and donations from the generous purses of Stan Hubbard, Dennis Fitzsimmons and the wonderful folks at the McCormick Foundation. 

He informed our work and ennobled our profession.  He never called it an industry.

We were all his students …

William O’Shaughnessy
President & CEO, Whitney Radio
WVOX/WRTN Westchester County, NY