UPDATE: Saluting Stevens, Tindall, Phillips
Praise for the late Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) continued to flow in Tuesday and again Wednesday from industry
groups and others. Stevens died in the crash of a private plane owned by Alaskan telecommunications company GCI, a crash that also took the lives of lobbyist BIll Phillips and GCI executives Dana Tindall and her daughter, Corey.
"Our industry mourns the terrible loss of family, colleagues and friends," said National Cable & Telecommunications Association President Kyle McSlarrow. "Senator Stevens was a good friend, whose stewardship of telecommunications and technology policy during his service on the Senate Commerce Committee left an enduring imprint on a major sector of our economy marked by unprecedented investment, innovation and growth. From war hero to his work as an unparalleled legislator, his legacy extends far beyond Alaska and we are grateful and honored to have worked with and to know him."
McSlarrow also expressed his sadness at the deaths of Tindall and her daughter, as well as Phillips.
"Dana Tindall was an extremely talented executive who helped GCI become a major force in Alaskan telecommunications," said McSlarrow. "She dedicated 24 years of her career to GCI and both she and her daughter Corey will be dearly missed by friends and colleagues. Bill Phillips was more than a consultant and colleague. He was a trusted confidant and close friend to many of us at NCTA and throughout the cable industry. We will miss all of them. Our thoughts and prayers are with the survivors of this tragedy, the Stevens, Tindall, and Phillips families and our colleagues at GCI."
"Senator Stevens was a life-long champion of the power of communications and a critical force in ensuring that
all Americans, particularly those in Alaska, benefit from the technological opportunities of our digital age,"
said FCC commisioner Meredith Attwell Baker.
""I was shocked and saddened to learn about the plane crash that took the life of Senator Ted Stevens and other
passengers in Dillingham, Alaska," commissioner Michael Copps said. "Senator Stevens and I enjoyed a friendship
of many years, first meeting shortly after I began working in the U.S. Senate in 1970. He and my former boss,
Senator Fritz Hollings, enjoyed a wonderfully close and lively friendship through the years, and I will always
treasure memories of that relationship.'Colorful' doesn't even begin to describe it.
"After I joined the FCC in 2001, I got to know Senator [and Chairman] Stevens better, and I valued his friendship
and counsel immensely. His oversight of the Commission was always fair, he made himself available for
discussions, and his legendary candor was always in evidence. I saw him just a few weeks ago and was happy to
find him looking so well and feeling so happy and relaxed. We have lost a hero in war, a patriot in the Senate,
and someone I was proud to know."
Stevens was still a presence in Washington. In fact, one of his last communications-related appearances came just
last month at a farewell party for top Disney lobbyist Preston Padden at the Motion Picture Association of
America, according to a communications attorney in attendance.
"Although I never had the privilege of working with Senator Stevens, I applaud him for his renowned leadership on
universal service policies and his ardent support of public radio and television broadcasting," said commissioner
Mignon Clyburn. "I also want to express my deepest condolences to the family and friends of the others who lost
their lives in this tragic accident."
Lonna Thompson, interim president of the Association of Public Television Stations, seconded that shout-out for Stevens' defense of public media. "Senator Stevens was a remarkable individual and a steadfast supporter of public broadcasting," she said. "He was an instrumental leader in several critical issues affecting public broadcasting, including the transition to digital television and providing unequivocal support of the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program (PTFP), a core program for public broadcasting infrastructure."
APTS gave Stevens a Champion of Public Broadcasting Award, Thomson pointed out. "We will always be grateful for his leadership in championing funding and policies necessary for local public stations to provide quality educational programming and critical community services to those most in need throughout our country."
The Consumer Electronics Association of America hailed Stevens as "a fighter pilot in WWII, as the champion of
Alaskan statehood and as an advocate for innovation, free enterprise and entrepreneurship," calling him "a true
force of nature."
"I wish to recognize Sen. Stevens for always being a good friend to the independent cable community and who will be remembered for his willingness to look out for small business as tenaciously as he did his beloved Alaska homefront," said American Cable Association President Matt Polka.
"Our prayers at ACA go out to the entire GCI family on the loss of longtime senior vice president Dana Tindall and her daughter [Corey] and for all the loss from this terrible accident," Polka said.
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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.
By Kent Gibbons