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Fwd: FCC Commissioner To Retire
- Subject: Fwd: FCC Commissioner To Retire
- From: SkaCore9mm@aol.com
- Date: Sun, 6 Apr 1997 12:54:40 -0400 (EDT)
I got this off the AP wire.
Date: 97-04-06 12:14:26 EDT
<HTML><PRE><I>.c The Associated Press</I></PRE></HTML>
By JEANNINE AVERSA
WASHINGTON (AP) - ``All in the Family'' was the country's
top-rated TV show. CNN, MTV and Fox TV network didn't exist. And
there was only one telephone company, AT&T.
That was the world of telecommunications in 1974 when former
Detroit broadcaster James Quello became one of its top regulators,
a post he's held for 23 years.
This summer, the 82-year-old commissioner, who still plays
tennis each weekend, will depart the Federal Communications
Commission. ``It's been the most fascinating job I ever had,'' he
In that job, Quello has helped to shape some of the biggest
changes American consumers have experienced on their telephones,
TVs and radios.
But to broadcasters, meeting here this week, Quello's legacy
will be that he was their biggest champion. ``Broadcasting. That's
been his passion through the years,'' says communications attorney
Dick Wiley, a former FCC chairman who served with Quello in the mid
To the public interest community, which tried to torpedo his
nomination two decades ago, contending that he would be a pawn of
broadcasters, Quello's legacy will be putting ``the interests of
the industry ahead of TV viewers,'' declares Jeff Chester,
executive director of the Center for Media Education, an advocacy
For his own part, Quello wants to be remembered as a
plain-talking, pragmatic regulator. A paperweight on his desk sums
it up: ``Lead, follow or get out of the way.''
Quello's seat, combined with one open Republican seat and
possibly one more, gives the Clinton administration and Republican
leaders in Congress a chance to reshape the five-member commission.
While he is an unabashed supporter of broadcast TV and radio,
Quello has gone after shock jock Howard Stern for overstepping the
bounds of the FCC's anti-indecency rules and has supported efforts
to keep a closer watch on TV violence.
A Nixon-appointed Democrat, Quello miffed the Clinton
administration last year when he opposed a rule requiring TV
stations to air at least three hours of educational shows for
children each week as a condition of getting their licenses
renewed. Under intense political and public pressure, Quello
reversed his position, allowing the Clinton-Gore campaign to claim
the ruling as a first-term accomplishment.
The dispute effectively ended any hope Quello had to be
Quello ran the FCC for 11 months until Nov. 29, 1993, when Reed
Hundt became chairman. The two often were at odds.
As interim chairman, Quello issued several historic decisions:
Implementing a 1992 cable television law that regulated cable
rates and service for the first time.
Lifting longstanding restrictions that barred the TV networks
from entering the $5 billion market for reruns and syndication.
Clearing the way for new wireless phone and two-way data and
paging services called personal communications services.
Proposing ground rules for the first auction of the nation's
Before joining the FCC, Quello was vice president and general
manager of Detroit radio station WJR and had been vice president of
Capital Cities Broadcasting Corp. Ralph Nader and other consumer
advocates sought to derail his 1974 nomination because of his
Quello's life at the FCC has spanned some of the biggest changes
After the breakup of AT&T in 1984, Quello participated in
decisions that helped MCI, Sprint and other long-distance companies
flourish. He voted for a licensing plan that created cellular
telephone service in the United States. He helped paved the wave
for Americans to receive cinema-quality digital TV - the biggest
industry change since color TV of the 1950s. And, he pushed for
regulations, upheld by the Supreme Court last Monday, that require
cable systems to carry local TV signals.
For the last year, he's been working to implement Congress'
biggest overhaul of telecommunications laws in over 60 years. The
1996 law frees local, long-distance and cable companies to get into
each other businesses, makes it easier for companies to own more TV
and radio stations and deregulates cable TV rates.
``I never thought it would take so long,'' he says.
<HTML><PRE><I><FONT COLOR="#000000 SIZE=2>Copyright 1997 The Associated
Press. The information
contained in the AP news report may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without
prior written authority of The Associated Press.<FONT COLOR="#000000
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