The “Boss,” former commissioner and acting chairman of the Federal Communications Commission James Quello, will be recognized at the Broadcasters Foundation of America Breakfast on April 14.
Quello, who died in January, has been named recipient of the first Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award, which will honor a broadcaster whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy and entrepreneurship, according to the foundation. The board’s choice of Quello from among the nominations submitted by the industry was unanimous.
The honor will be awarded at the Foundation Breakfast at the Bellagio, held in conjunction with the National Association of Broadcasters Show.
Quello served approximately 23 years at the FCC. He’s being recognized in particular for his advocacy of free, over-the-air broadcasting. He played a pivotal role in the transformation of the communications industry and was one of the federal government’s top regulators during the period that brought new telecommunications options to the public after passage of the Telcom Act.
A Detroit broadcast executive, Quello managed WJR before becoming vice president of Capital Cities Broadcasting. Following his retirement from government service, according to the foundation, he remained an advocate for the industry, writing editorials in the trade press and maintaining contact with FCC commissioners and Washington legislators well into his 90s. He was 95 when he died.
Over the course of his career, he was the recipient of numerous accolades, including a Distinguished Service Award from the NAB and the first Milestone Award from the Institute for Communications Law Studies at Catholic University of America. He was inducted into the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame and the Museum of Broadcast Communications’ Radio Hall of Fame. In 1998, his alma mater, Michigan State University, honored both Quello and his wife of Mary with the creation of the James H. Quello and Mary B. Quello Center for Telecommunication Management and Law.