James B. Hedlund, 69, former head of the Association of
Local Television Stations, died Feb. 23 in Aiken, S.C.
Hedlund was No. 2 at ALTV, assuming the top job in 1990,
succeeding Preston Padden, who left to head Disney's government relations
office. Hedlund remained until the association was shuttered in February 2002,
when he moved to Aiken and started a construction company.
"Jim was one of the smartest, nicest, and most able
people I ever met," says Padden, who went on to top posts at ABC, News
Corp., and is now heading a coalition of stations, many of them likely
independents, interested in selling spectrum. "He was just a brilliant guy
and a nice guy. He was like a pied piper bringing congressional and FCC
staffers to our conventions."
"For years, Jim Hedlund was a great friend and a fierce advocate for the interests of free and local broadcasting in Washington," said National Association of Broadcasters spokesman Dennis Wharton. "His savvy leadership helped make INTV an impressive force at both the FCC and on Capitol Hill. NAB and the broadcast community mourns his passing."
Hedlund's service to the TV station industry came after long
service in government, including at the Department of Housing & Urban
Development and the Ford White House, where he was deputy director of the
Council on Wage and Price Stability and was also a speech writer. Hedlund also
spent four years on the Hill as Republican staff director of the Committee on
the Budget for the U.S. House of Representatives.
Survivors include his wife, Carolyn, and a son, Steve.
A memorial service will be held at St. John United Methodist
Church in Aiken March 1. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Aiken
SPCA, 401 Wire Rd., Aiken, SC 29805.