Tributes from Washington policymakers and shapers began pouring in Sunday (Jan. 24) as word spread that former FCC comissioner 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 commitment. "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. 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 affection."
"Warrior, broadcaser, and public servents," is how commissioner Michael Copps, himself a former interim chairman, summed up Quello's legacy. "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 soul."
"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."