James Quello

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Person.png James Quello  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
James Quello.jpg
BornJames Henry Quello
April 21, 1914
DiedJanuary 24, 2010 (Age 95)
Alma materMichigan State University
"A pawn of the radio and broadcasting industry".

Employment.png Acting Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission

In office
February 5, 1993 - November 28, 1993
Succeeded byReed Hundt

James Henry Quello was a broadcaster and later government official who oversaw the communications industry. He was a Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and, in 1993, from February 5 to November 28, served as the acting chairman of the commission.[1] His term as acting chairman ended when Reed Hundt was confirmed by the U.S. Senate. He stepped down as an FCC commissioner in 1998. Quello was a Democrat who was appointed to the FCC by a Republican president, Richard Nixon.[2]

Quello was born in Laurium, Michigan. He was a World War II veteran during the European conflict in 1941–1945 and friend of American president Gerald Ford. At the time of his death he was the chairman of James H. Quello and Mary B. Quello Center for Telecommunication Management and Law at Michigan State University which was named in honor of the former commissioner and his wife. Up until his death Quello was also working as a consultant in the Government Affairs law office of Wiley Rein.

Broadcasting career

Quello started his career in radio broadcasting immediately after returning from Europe in 1945. He worked in the promotions department at WXYZ/Detroit. Two years later, Quello moved to rival station WJR and became vice president and general manager in 1960. When Capital Cities Broadcasting purchased WJR, Quello became WJR station manager and a Capital Cities vice president. For 21 years he served on the Detroit Housing and Urban Renewal Commission.

Federal Communications Commission

He was first appointed commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission by then U.S. president Richard M. Nixon in 1974. Fellow Michiganian, House minority leader and future United States Vice President and President Gerald Ford supported Quello's nomination by Nixon. He served there until 1997 when he stepped down. His nomination at first sparked controversy as Ralph Nader who viewed Quello as "a pawn of the radio and broadcasting industry".

Commissioner Quello supported the deregulation of commercial limitations in television broadcasting (1981).[3]

For several months in 1993 Quello was the acting chairman of the FCC, succeeded by Bill Clinton nominee Reed E. Hundt. Despite his brief tenure as FCC chairman, The New York Times described his term with the headline "Temporary Chief Proves More Than a Fill-In"[4]. During this time the FCC Commission implemented the Cable Act; imposing rate regulations on cable television broadcasting and lifting long-standing restrictions on television networks from entering the market for reruns and syndication. Congress granted the FCC auction authority, raising over $20 billion for the U.S treasury.[5]

In the final year of his career as an FCC Commissioner, James H. Quello worked on the 1996 Communications Act, enabling cross-ownership between telecommunications companies; nominally introduced to foster marketplace competition, it was followed by greater concentration of media ownership.

During his career as a Commissioner, the FCC initiated affirmative action policies to increase minority hiring and ownership in broadcasting. Licensees were required to understand the community they served and make efforts to recruit employees represented in the community.