Margita E. White, 65, former FCC commissioner and president of the Association for Maximum Service Television, died Wed., Nov. 20, at Virginia Hospital Center, Arlington, Va., after a long battle with cancer.
White had been president of MSTV from 1988 to 2001, helping to spur the transition from analog to digital broadcasting while working to protect broadcasters' signal quality. She served as an FCC commissioner from 1976 to 1979 after being an assistant in the White House Office of Communications during the Nixon administration and director of the office under President Ford.
She was also assistant director of USIA in 1973-74. "History will record that Margita's vision, dedication and leadership led to the creation of digital broadcasting in this country," said MSTV President David Donovan. "We will miss her intelligence, grace and charm." Said former FCC Commissioner and Chairman Jim Quello: "A grievous loss—a great, knowledgeable, effective fellow FCC commissioner, an impressive communications executive, a wonderful human being and an esteemed longtime friend."
White was born June 27, 1937, in Linkoping, Sweden, but emigrated to California with her family at age 11.
White received the National Association of Broadcasters Spirit Award in 2001. She was also a board member of Taft Broadcasting and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and a member of the Peabody advisory board.
Survivors include two children, Suzanne and Stuart.
Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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