David Seyler, 64, who oversaw Broadcasting & Cable's Yearbook reference volume and was former editor in chief at Radio+TV Business Report, died of Cancer Oct. 30 at his home in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., according to TVNewsCheck, where he had been a contributing writer.
Seyler was Radio Business Report editor-in-chief from April 1993 to August 2015.
Before that, Seyler oversaw the herculean task of pulling together B&C's Yearbook, agate-type listings for every TV, radio station, and network in the country, and much more, for the imposing compendium, which at the time was a must-have reference volume for the industry.
In one incident, then-Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke, himself a former broadcaster, called to check on the Yearbook's publication status, then told it was hot off the press, sent his limousine driver to the B&C offices to pick up an early copy from Seyler.
Dick Wiley, former chairman of the FCC and one of the most respected communications lawyers in the county, said Wednesday that the Yearbook in its heyday was "the bible of the broadcasting world."
Seyler was born Nov. 25, 1954, in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, but early on moved to the D.C. suburbs.
He was a graduate of the University of Maryland with a B.S. in Music (Seyler played the trumpet and Flugelhorn in various bands), but is probably better remembered by his colleagues for his virtuoso playing of the outfield and his wicked bat skills in B&C softball games. He was a Nats fan and enjoying the team's most recent success just before his death, said his wife.
Seyler was manager of the Broadcasting Yearbook from 1984 to 1992, followed by the stints at Radio+TV Business Report and, ultimately, a contributing role at TVNewsCheck, helmed by his former B&C editors Harry Jessell and Mark Miller.
“Although he was hired by Broadcasting to manage the Yearbook, I was to learn when he moved to the competition that he was a solid reporter and concise and clever writer,” TVNewsCheck editor and former B&C editor Jessell said. "He could also write funny, something I exploited when he began writing for TVNewsCheck. Our collaboration on 'Amalgamated Media' is a column I will always treasure."
“Dave was a terrific guy and a gifted writer and reporter," said National Association of Broadcasters executive VP Dennis Wharton. "I became such a fan when Dave took over as editor of Radio+TV Business Report and covered the broadcast biz on a daily basis for several years. Dave’s editorial commentaries that were tacked on to the bottom of straight news stories were so well-crafted and always spot-on. Dave fought the cancer battle for many years; I’d like to think he’s now in a better place, playing his trumpet and proud of a life well lived.”
Seyler, a cigarette often hanging from his lower lip, drove the Yearbook toward the door with several parts humor and more parts coffee. B&C Communications League teammates can still picture his compact frame standing in the outfield, a glove in one hand and perhaps a favorite sports drink in the other, though unlike a recent Nats fan he likely would have sacrificed the brew for the team.
His writing prowess was also in evidence in his accounts of the B&C team's weekly softball game for newsletter, Assault and Boltery.
Survivors include his wife, Amy, and their two children, Sarah and Paul.