Tributes from Washington
policymakers began pouring in Sunday (Jan. 24) as word spread that former FCC
commissioner and interim chairman James
Quello had died.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, who was a top aid to then
Chairmen William Kennard and Reed Hundt during Quello's final three years at
the commission (1994-97), called him a role model of decency, charm and
"It was with great sadness that I learned of the death
of former Commissioner Jim Quello," said Genachwoski in a statement.
"Jim was a friend and a beloved Commissioner of this agency for more than
two decades. Known as the 'Dean' of the FCC -- and 'Boss' to the many
staffers who worked for him -- he was a role model to generations of FCC
employees and advocates for his decency, personal charm, and commitment to his
work. He leaves behind an extraordinary legacy of service to the FCC, the
communications industry, and the American people.
Commissioner Quello's long life was packed with
accomplishment," Genachowski went on. He was born April 21, 1914, in Laurium, Michigan
-- eleven years before the first public demonstration of television and two
decades before the creation of the FCC.
He served his country with great valor and distinction in
World War II, surviving six amphibious landings and earning multiple
decorations and campaign ribbons. He spent his first career as a
broadcaster, finding ways to serve local communities in the early days of the
medium. And he went on to serve the FCC as commissioner from 1974 until
1997, receiving numerous honors and earning widespread respect and
"Warrior, broadcaster, and public servant is how
Commissioner Michael Copps, himself a former interim chairman, summed up
"You can tell a lot about how a person lived by the way
he or she dies. Jim Quello died with grace, confidence, a calm spirit, and
pride in a life well lived. I visited with him Friday and, albeit weaker, he
was alert, good-spirited and still talking about issues and about the
Commission he loved so much and served so long, so well.
"Jim's tenure at the FCC, particularly his chairmanship,
drew the best from people because he gave them his best back. He empowered
people and they loved him for it. Warrior, broadcaster, public
servant--wherever he served, Jim gave it his all and, when he left his various
posts, he left them better than he found them. "We won't be seeing another
Jim Quello. I am proud of the friendship Jim and I developed. God rest his
"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," said
National Association of Broadcasters President Gordon Smith. "We have lost
an American original."
"All of us at the American Cable Association were
deeply saddened to learn that former FCC Commissioner James H. Quello died on
Sunday," said American Cable Association President Mathew Polka. "On
a personal note, I'll always remember that Jim Quello recognized that small
cable operators had unique concerns, and I'll always appreciate his sincere
attempts to protect small operators from the heavy hand of big government. Much
to his credit, Jim Quello understood that good public policy is achieved by
consensus, a lesson that all public servants would be wise to follow. A
friendly man and a great storyteller, Jim Quello was a gifted public official
who built a lasting legacy at the FCC by performing his duties with grace and
intelligence, wit and wisdom."