Skip to main content

Welcome Back, Mr. Chairman

I was pleased to hear, and from an unimpeachable source, that former FCC Chairman James Quello is on the mend after too close an association with the healthcare system.

Chairman/Commissioner Quello has been out of commission for a few months, but hardly out of mind.

At 95, Quello continues to run rampant over the actuarial tables on his way to a 100th birthday party he has been planning for a while now.

At an age at which many people aren’t even at an age, Quello continues to stand ramrod straight–he is a World War II vet–for free, over-the-air television. He continues to consult and to share the experience he gained in Washington and in the local-station trenches, as well as his enthusiasm for the industry.

Just last week he lent his name to a legal brief filed by a trio of former FCC chairmen. They were telling the FCC it was off base on indecency, and they should know.

Commissioner/Chairman Quello shows no signs of slowing down, which is good because free, over-the-air TV needs all the advocates it can get as the wireless industry hungrily eyes all the spectrum it can get its hands on.

I am told I may even be invited to the 100th birthday party, so I’d best start finding a suitable present. What do you give an old soldier who shows no signs of fading away. To parahprase Scrooge, there will be a lot of back payments in that present. The former chairman’s Christmas gifts of jams and jellies (and yes, I accept them with pride) have made him something of a mythical figure in my home.

For the moment, my present will have to be a salute from a sometimes Variety reporter to a former stringer for the paper (that’s another story, or two).