James Henry Quello, a one-time radio broadcaster who served as an FCC commissioner for 24 years and was known for his forthright, down-to-earth approach to government deliberations, died Sunday of heart and kidney failure at his home in Alexandria, Va. He was 95.
During his years on the commission, he was an unabashed champion of free, universal, over-the-air television.
Appointed to the FCC in 1974 by then President Richard Nixon, Quello, a Democrat, kept winning reappointments to the commission until 1998, when he retired. He was named acting chairman of the FCC in 1993, bridging the gap between the tenure of Republican Albert Sikes and Democratic appointee, Reed Hundt.
Because he came from the ranks of broadcasters, Quello’s initial appointment to the FCC sparked protests from consumer advocate Ralph Nader, who called the new commissioner “a pawn for broadcasters.” More…