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
"It is with a heavy heart that I reflect on the passing of my friend, Jim Quello, who served for more than twenty-three years on the Federal Communications Commission," said Commissioner Robert McDowell. "As a young attorney new to communications law in the early 1990s, I first encountered Jim from afar as one of many who watched, and grew to admire, the collegiality and openness he brought to his role as Acting Chairman. Later, it was a true pleasure to get to know Jim during my own tenure at the FCC. He was an endearing figure who demonstrated his kindness and thoughtfulness by reaching out to mentor many of us who have entered these doors over the years."
"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."
In addition to Smith's shout-out, the NAB joint board passed a resolution Monday honoring Quello.
"It is hereby resolved this day by the Joint Board of the National Association of Broadcasters that NAB and all broadcasters mourn the passing of a truly great American, James H. Quello. Jim Quello was himself a great broadcaster who answered the call of his country as a war hero in World War II, and through more than two decades of service on the Federal Communications Commission as a Commissioner and Chairman. NAB is grateful for Jim Quello's unwavering support for free and local broadcasting and applaud his bipartisan approach to public policy debates. We have lost a true friend."
"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."
"Former FCC Chairman Jim Quello has left our world, but he left it better for having impacted the lives of so many," said former FCC Chairman Michael Powell in a statement. "Jim was the lion of the communications industry. His strength and courage were born from his years as an infantry commander in World War II (a story he never failed to tell). He was the paradigmatic public servant, having walked away from the opportunity for great personal wealth, he chose to take his reward in pursuing the public interest. His wit and wisdom made you proud to be in the fraternity of communication practitioners. He was loved and adored and we will deeply miss his counsel, his humor and his unflinching friendship."
"It was with great sadness that we learned of the death
of former FCC Commissioner Quello," said American Women in Radio &
Television interim president Sylvia Strobel. "He was a respected
broadcaster and public servant. In 1988, Commissioner Quello received
AWRT's Silver Satellite Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to
the broadcast industry. On behalf of the members of AWRT, we extend our
condolences to Mr. Quello's family, and offer our prayers, thoughts and
sympathies during this time of loss."
"Commissioner Quello was a remarkable individual in both his
personal and professional life, fighting for the core principles valued by all
Americans," said Association of Public Television Stations President and CEO
Larry Sidman. "Commissioner Quello led
an astonishingly extraordinary life. He was a hero in World War II, serving as
a Lieutenant and Lieutenant Colonel of the U.S. Army, liberating Jews from
concentration camps, and earning numerous awards and honors for his brave
efforts at this significant time in American history. During his distinguished
23-year career at the FCC, he was a tireless champion of over-the-air
broadcasting, understanding the importance of serving the local community. His
staunch support for universal access to broadcast television was felt
throughout his time at the FCC and beyond.
"I am proud to have had the opportunity to work with Jim
during his tenure at the FCC and in the broadcast industry," said Sidman.
"He has been a true inspiration to all the lives he's touched and leaves a
legacy that will be felt for many generations to come."