Veteran Broadcast Industry Journalist Tack Nail Dead at 82

Nail covered the business of broadcasting in Washington for more than 50 years.
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Nail with “NBC Nightly News” anchor, Brian Williams, at the recent NAB State Leadership Conference
WASHINGTON: Dawson B. “Tack” Nail passed away this afternoon after being hospitalized in critical condition for a fall, according to Dennis Wharton, executive vice president of the National Association of Broadcasters. The 82-year-old covered the business of broadcasting in Washington, D.C. for more than 50 years and continued to be a fixture at newsworthy events up until the days before his death.

“Tack was a great friend who mentored many a journalist, protected many a source, and provided us all with plenty of laughs through the years. We grieve for his family, while we celebrate the life of a reporter whose decency, integrity and simple kindness were unmatched,” Wharton said in a statement.

Nail began his trade career in 1955 as a rewrite man for “Broadcasting” magazine, now “Broadcasting & Cable.” He eventually moved to Warren Publishing, which puts out “Communications Daily.” He was profiled by Kim McAvoy for “B&C” in 1995, when he was awarded the NAB’s “Spirit of Broadcasting Award.”

“If you don’t have a favorite story about Tack Nail, you haven’t lived life to the fullest,” McAvoy wrote, relating one about Nail pulling a former FCC commissioner into a swimming pool. Antics aside, Nail is a respected institution in D.C. broadcast industry circles.

“When he would start a press conference question with ‘Sir,’ I would hold my breath,” one former NAB staffer told McAvoy. “You never knew what would come next.���