Richard Wiley on what’s next in high def TV ~
“Ultra high definition is great. Then there’s an even … double that, coming up in Japan. Super high vision. So, it’s just going to keep going. The only problem is, there’s only so much that the human eye can absorb.”
Andy Ockershausen: This is Our Town. This is Andy Ockershausen, and we’re introducing to our podcast one of the more famous regulators in the history of broadcasting. The man was a Commissioner, he was a General Counsel, he became Chairman of the FCC. He is one of the most important people in the history of broadcasting, and we’re so delighted to have Dick Wiley here in Our Town.
Richard Wiley: Andy, thank you. It’s a pleasure and a privilege to be with you once again! And we’re still clicking, you know?
Andy Ockershausen: You’re clicking, I’m clicking, thank God Janice keeps me clicking. But Dick, you’ve had such an illustrious life, career, and everything, before you went to straight-when you left the government. But you were such an important part of the growth of broadcast to me, and Our Town, and in the world. And what you did as Commissioner, and if you remember the days that I would call on you with Dick Chapin-
Richard Wiley: Absolutely.
Andy Ockershausen: … from Nebraska. We were always interested in what the Commission was doing, and what you were doing. And it helped our industry tremendously.
Richard Wiley and others at Federal Communications Commission Worked to Eliminate Outmoded Regulations in the 70s
Richard Wiley: Well, we were trying to eliminate some of the old, outmoded regulations. The industry had changed and grown, and prospered, and the regulations remained the same. So, you and Dick were bringing in good ideas to try to make some changes.
Andy Ockershausen: And before you would make them, Dean Burch was trying the same thing-
Richard Wiley: Absolutely. Absolutely. He was my predecessor.
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah, well he was your predecessor-
Richard Wiley: Great guy.
Andy Ockershausen: But he was never General Counsel like you are.
Richard Wiley: No.
Andy Ockershausen: I remember when you were the General Counsel-
Richard Wiley: I was his General Counsel.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s it. That’s correct. That was quite a team at the time, because you were on the same team, everybody’s trying to get rid of these ridiculous restrictions. In addition … Restrictions are good but when they’re ridiculous, they’re awful.
Richard Wiley: Well, as life goes on, the industries change, technology changes, the regulation can’t stay the same. And I think that’s what we started. They’ve certainly gone much beyond where we were in the ’70’s. This was the ’70’s, Andy-
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, I know! I remember that. Oh my God. But there was such a growth period in the industry in the ’70’s-
Richard Wiley: Really was.
Andy Ockershausen: … was incredible, with the networks and-
New Technologies Entered Market in the 70s | Satellite | Cable | Internet
Richard Wiley: And other technologies were coming in at the time. Satellite, you know-
Andy Ockershausen: We didn’t know what they were.
Richard Wiley: … television, and cable, you know – nobody wondered whether cable was going to do anything, became of course, a very dynamic industry. And now we’ve got the internet, which has changed everything.
Andy Ockershausen: Just the modest changes that we made in radio at the time, because everything was on a little disc and we had no tapes. It was ancient. Now all that is gone, Dick. Everything is gone up here somewhere, and we don’t know where it is, but it works. We could watch a tape in a tape recorder, but we can’t watch it now.
Richard Wiley: Absolutely.
Andy Ockershausen: But Dick, tell me now, you’ve had such an illustrious career, but a lot of people don’t know you as a baseball fanatic, starting in Chicago where you grew up.
Wiley Family Has a Passion for Baseball
Richard Wiley: Yes. I played college baseball-
Andy Ockershausen: At Northwestern-
Richard Wiley: For Northwestern.
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah, I knew that.
Richard Wiley: Right, and …
Andy Ockershausen: Big time. Big ten.
Richard Wiley: And my son played college baseball, and now I’ve got two grandchildren playing college baseball. And since I’ve got six of them, I hope there’s more to come. Baseball’s sort of our family passion-
Andy Ockershausen: You need a few more.
Richard Wiley: Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: And you went to school in … before you went to Northwestern, you went to school … you live in the city, or …
Richard Wiley: No. My folks lived in the suburbs of Chicago. I was born in Peoria and then my dad moved his business up to the Chicago area-
Andy Ockershausen: There used to be a lot of jokes about Peoria, but no more. It’s probably a wonderful place to be now. Busy.
Richard Wiley: Yes, I would imagine so. I haven’t been back in many, many years, but-
Andy Ockershausen: But you’ve been back to Chicago, of course?
Wiley Attended Northwestern Law School
Richard Wiley: Oh yes, of course. You know, I went to Northwestern Law School, right there, you know?
Andy Ockershausen: Is it in downtown, the law school?
Richard Wiley: Downtown. The law school’s downtown.
Andy Ockershausen: Sort of like Georgetown, that law school’s down in the center of the city.
Richard Wiley: Right.
Andy Ockershausen: And you finished your career. Did you go immediately into a… with a law firm, or did you start your own business?
Wiley’s Military Career – JAG Corps and The Pentagon Assignment
Richard Wiley: No. Back in those days, you had to serve in the army or the military. And-
Andy Ockershausen: With the war on.
Richard Wiley: And there was no war at the time, but you know, you had to be ready for it. And I was thinking of going to Harvard Business School because I got out of law school a little early, and I thought I’d combine the two and it’d be great. And the Draft Board says, “We think you’re trying to get out of the draft. Prepare to be drafted.” So, then I said, “It’s two years an enlisted man or three years in the Judge Advocate General’s corps.” So, I took the JAG and I went to the University of Virginia and- after that…
Andy Ockershausen: You moved East?
Richard Wiley: Just for the… That’s where the JAG school is. Then and now. And then they assigned me to the Pentagon. And I argued cases before the Court of Military Appeals, as it was called then. And-
Andy Ockershausen: Were you a defense attorney?
Wiley Met the Future Mrs. Wiley at Church in Arlington, VA
Richard Wiley: Government. I was trying to keep those guys who’d been convicted of these terrible crimes stayed that way, you know? But the most important thing to happen to me during those three years, I went to church one day, a good thing to do, and I met an Arlington schoolteacher and-
Andy Ockershausen: Wow.
Richard Wiley: … it all clicked for us, and we’ve been married over 50 years. So, it’s been great.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, I knew she was practically a native too, because she’s from Arlington. Was she born in Virginia?
Richard Wiley: No. She’s … Bristol.
Andy Ockershausen: But Virginia … or Tennessee?
Richard Wiley: Well, the hospital is on the Virginia side, but she’s from Tennessee.
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah. Bristol, Tennessee. Well that’s a … your whole life has been involved in Our Town, one way or another.
Richard Wiley: Right, well that-
Andy Ockershausen: Since you got out of law school.
From The Pentagon to Private Practice in Chicago To FCC
Richard Wiley: I went back to Chicago after the JAG, and got a master’s degree in law at Georgetown at night, went back to Chicago, practiced for about eight years, taught law school at night. And then, the chance came to be General Counsel of the FCC. I wanted to go to the Federal Trade Commission, because I was doing anti-trust work, but the White House said, “Dean Burch is looking for a General Counsel. We think you guys would click.” And we went over there and it worked out. I met … you may remember these guys, Bob Cahill and Pat O’Donnell. Remember those great guys?
Andy Ockershausen: Oh yeah!
Richard Wiley: They were Burch’s assistants and-
Andy Ockershausen: Cahill ended up with a lot of money-
Richard Wiley: Oh yeah, he did well. He did well.
Andy Ockershausen: With that network, that was the first Spanish network, wasn’t it?
Richard Wiley: Right. Univision.
Andy Ockershausen: Latino. Univision. Cahill hit the jackpot. What a bunch of characters! But they were progressive guys in that they wanted to keep growing this industry. And they all work. And Dean Burch did, too.
From FCC General Counsel to Commissioner Under Nixon
Richard Wiley: Right, and then so, I got the job, to my amazement, and I was 36. And about a year later, Dean Burch called me in, the Chairman, and said, “What are you doing about becoming a Commissioner?” And I said, “A Commissioner? No, I was so happy to be General Counsel.” He said, “Well, Bob Wells, a former broadcaster from Kansas, was going to retire. And he said, “You’d better get over to the White House, because they’ll name somebody else.” And so, I went over to the White House and-
Andy Ockershausen: Who was it? Was it Nixon?
Richard Wiley: Nixon, yeah. And Chuck Percy wondered to … I had to clear with-
Andy Ockershausen: From Illinois, right.
Richard Wiley: Yeah, from Illinois. And I knew him. And So, I went up and he said, “You’d be great.” And so, I got the Commissioner’s job, and two years later, Dean Burch called me one day and said he’s going over to the White House to help President Nixon. And I said, “Well gosh, he’s got, you know, some problems.” And he said, “Oh no, it’s going to work out fine.” Well, he said, “You’re going to be the next Chairman.” So, three months later, Nixon resigned-
Andy Ockershausen: They held you in that position …
FCC Commissioner under President Ford and FCC Chairman under President Carter
Richard Wiley: But Jerry Ford came in and held all the regulatory commissioners in. And then in 1976, November, you might remember, Jimmy Carter beat Jerry Ford.
Andy Ockershausen: Absolutely.
Richard Wiley: So, I thought, “Well I’m through,” You know? So, I went up to the Carter transition team, at their request, and I said, “Hey, my term runs out next June. I’ve been a Commissioner, I’ll be a Commissioner again. I’m going to stay and finish the term.” And they said, “Well, if you’re going to stay, we don’t have our guy yet, why don’t you just stay on as Chairman?” So, I went back and got the three Democrats. We had seven members of the commission. Ben Hooks, you may remember some of these guys, Jimmy Quello. And I said, “Guys, you’re looking at the next chairman of the FCC.” They couldn’t believe it. And I was in there for a year as a pretty good Republican in a Democratic administration-
Andy Ockershausen: I know, but they held you.
Richard Wiley: But life was different then. I mean Ford and Carter had the same views, as far as moderate deregulation, that you and I worked on. So, I had seven and a half years at the FCC.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, your timing was incredible.
Richard Wiley: Yeah, it was pretty good-
Andy Ockershausen: You hit the right people at the right time.
Richard Wiley: They were good people.
Andy Ockershausen: You know, when I first met Dean Burch, he was running the Goldwater campaign.
Richard Wiley: Sure.
Andy Ockershausen: And the RNC was here and because being Washington WMAL, we knew everybody, everybody knew us. And I do think that the town was different then, Dick. It was a chance for people to get together. Broadcasters, we would hang out with Commissioners or lawyers. Lawyers would hang out with broadcasters. Broadcasters knew each other. I knew every GM, everyone that ran these radio and TV stations. It’s not that way anymore. They’re located somewhere else, now.
Richard Wiley: Well-
Andy Ockershausen: It’s a different world.
“Times change. You just have to change with the times.”
Richard Wiley: Times change, you know, as it does. And you just have to change with the times. And I think broadcasting is amazingly still a very great industry, both radio and television. Radio’s having kind of a renaissance recently. They’re having the Radio Show right now down in Orlando, and-
Andy Ockershausen: The Radio Show.
Richard Wiley: Yeah, they got the Radio Show.
Andy Ockershausen: My friend Ralph Guild was involved in that when it originally started all that.
Richard Wiley: Oh sure, I remember Ralph Guild.
Andy Ockershausen: Why did you never become an owner? Why didn’t you go into the business?
Life After the FCC
Richard Wiley: Well, I was a lawyer in Chicago, and I’d always been a lawyer. And that was … I’d worked for the big law firm in Chicago. So, when I got out of the FCC, finally, my wife said, “You’re leaving, aren’t you?” And this was in-
Andy Ockershausen: Betty (Wiley).
Kirkland & Ellis
Richard Wiley: Betty. You’re right. Thank you. And that’s when I went with a big Chicago law firm, as head of their Washington office. Kirkland & Ellis.
Andy Ockershausen: Kirkland & Ellis. It’s still a big law firm.
Richard Wiley: Very big. Five years later, and we had 75 lawyers, and five years later they said, “Hey, great news. We’re going to take one of the Bell spin-offs,” AT&T was being broken up, you remember?
Andy Ockershausen: Oh yeah.
Impetus for Wiley Rein LLP
Richard Wiley: In the early ’80’s. And I said, “Well, wait a minute,” I said, “I’ve argued cases on the other side. I’ve been building this competitive practice.” And they said, “Well, that’s too bad. You’ll have to give up those clients or, you know, leave.” So, at that point, Burt Rein, who was a friend of mine at the firm, R-E-I-N and I decided to leave and start our own firm. We took half their office of 37 lawyers and we’ve got maybe 250 now, and-
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, I know, it just exploded. Well, we were going to talk … I want to come back and talk to you, you mentioned something about Dean Burch that may not be known by a lot of people but known by us and be shared with the audience. Dean Burch worked with Janice, here. Did you know that Dean was a-
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: His son.
Richard Wiley: Oh, young Dean, sure. I remember him very well, yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: Dino, we called him. This is Our Town. This is Andy Ockershausen. We’re talking to Dick Wiley about Our Town.
[Begin GEICO Commercial:]
Announcer: Technology truths, brought to you by GEICO.
Jingle: Technology truths.
Announcer: Truth. You have 14 login passwords. And you can’t remember any of them.
Man: Doug one. Doug two? Doug is awesome. Doug is awesome one, two, three.
Announcer: Truth. It’s so easy to switch and save on car insurance at GEICO.com.
Man: Doug is super cool ampersand, underscore, exclamation point, exclamation point, 1985. Knew it!
Announcer: GEICO, 15 minutes could save you 15% or more. [End GEICO Commercial]
[Commercial]Attorney Mike Collins: This is attorney Mike Collins. Come to my seminar and I’ll explain in plain english all you need to know about wills, trusts, taxes, probate and how to keep your money in your family. I will show you how to eliminate those dread death taxes and avoid the expense in delay of probate. See how our Reservoir Trust can protect your family’s inheritance from law suits and the Divorce Court. Thousands of your neighbors have already attended. So watch the mail for your special invitation and register now at mikecollins.com. That’s mikecollins.com. [End Commercial]
Announcer: You’re listening to Our Town.
Andy Ockershausen: This is Our Town. This is Andy Ockershausen, in a conversation with a wonderful, dear, and long-time friend, Dick Wiley, who was the number one man in our business when I grew up. And he was Chairman of the FCC. That would scare people to death, except we had a morning show of Harden and Weaver that got fined by the FCC-
When the FCC Fined Harden and Weaver
Richard Wiley: Oh yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: … for doing commercials over one minute. Dick, you remember that-
Richard Wiley: I do remember that.
Andy Ockershausen: And it was … I never forget, Bob Hyland, the guy in St. Louis, called me, said, “Whatever you do, don’t pay that fine.” He said, “Make them put you in jail.” Remember him at KMOX?
Richard Wiley: Sure. That was a great station.
Andy Ockershausen: Great station. He was a very, very delightful man to reach out to me, that we were doing something. He said, “It’s none of the Commission’s business. Someday they’re going to adopt that.” And you did! It became progressive for us to do commercials, and who’s to say what it is and what it isn’t? But anyway, Dick, about Chicago, something that I remember dimly, and you may not, about Northwestern, about … at least, I think I’m correct. Otto Graham.
Otto Graham :: Trombone Player | Northwestern Alumnus | NFL Hall of Famer
Richard Wiley: Great, great All-American, great football player-
Andy Ockershausen: He was a great basketball player, too.
Richard Wiley: Too. Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s what the thing I heard about. He was doing like a Big 10 star or something in basketball.
Richard Wiley: He also played in the band. His father was head of the band at Waukegan High School, which as one of our big opponents when I played high school baseball out there, and basketball. And his dad wrote their theme song, and Otto came down there and as a kid, I saw Otto Graham playing. He was-
Andy Ockershausen: Was he a trumpeter?
Richard Wiley: He played … I think he played a trombone, but I don’t recall-
Andy Ockershausen: He was a brass. I remember that.
Richard Wiley: I played the trumpet in the Northwestern band.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, did you? That’s big time, huh? Otto didn’t have time for that. He’s playing.
Richard Wiley: Well, he did a little bit.
Andy Ockershausen: But we know, when Otto lived here, we … I mean people that lived out where he lived, and through a friend of mine, Bob Bennett, was with Kluge. You know Bob-
Richard Wiley: Sure. Of course.
Andy Ockershausen: Metromedia. Got to know Otto quite well, and everything that man did, he could pick up bow and arrow and be a world-class … You know Otto had that strange thing that God gives you. He had that coordination. He could do anything.
Richard Wiley: Yes.
Andy Ockershausen: I thought he was a great-
Richard Wiley: He was a wonderful player.
Andy Ockershausen: Great guy, too. Great guy. Great golfer. He could hit the golf ball a ton. Now you went to tennis. You didn’t do the golf, huh?
Richard Wiley: That’s right. Yeah, I’m still playing. Not well, but playing.
Andy Ockershausen: But in between your stints, you decided we got to do something about color TV, right? And we’re not-
1987 – Wiley Recruited to Head Up FCC Federal Advisory Committee Advanced Television Project
Richard Wiley: Well, not color, so much. You know, we had a standard to which all sets had to be made. And that was adopted in 1941, if you can think of that. That’s when television really started. And then it was colorized in 19 … the early ’50’s. In 1987, the Chairman of the FCC then, Dennis Patrick, called me over and said, “Listen, we’re thinking about Japan and Western Europe as working on something called advanced television. And we don’t want to have the United States left behind, so I want to you head up this Federal Advisory Committee. It’s going to be about a two-year project.” I said, “Well okay. Sounds interesting. I’ll do it.” Nine years later, we worked on, and actually what happened, the Federal Advisory Committee that we had, figured out that there was a better technology coming along. Digital, really, the language of computers. And Japan and Western Europe had really focused on advanced analog, the old technology-
Andy Ockershausen: Right-
Development of HDTV Standard and What’s Ahead
Richard Wiley: So, the United States, we developed HDTV, digital HDTV standard. Took us nine years. The FCC adopted it, and now when you see wide screen HDTV, that’s it. And now we’re going into even another technology, ultra high definition, which is coming along. So, what do you learn-
Andy Ockershausen: How far is that away from being marketed?
Richard Wiley: Oh, it’s going to be another two or three, four years. It’s coming.
Andy Ockershausen: One of the things we hear about from our friend, Ric Edelman, and he does a show here. And you know Edelman-
Richard Wiley: Absolutely.
Andy Ockershausen: Financial advisor and so forth. Things you think are going to happen have already happened, but maybe not here, but somewhere in this world. Everything is thought of, I mean, progress is incredible.
Richard Wiley: It is.
Andy Ockershausen: Increments.
Richard Wiley: Ultra high definition is great. Then there’s an even … double that, coming up in Japan. Super high vision. So, it’s just going to keep going. The only problem is, there’s only so much that the human eye can absorb.
Andy Ockershausen: I was going to say, what else-
Richard Wiley: Unless you have a 150 inch screen or something of the sort. Most of us don’t have that in our homes, you know?
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: Not yet, anyway.
Richard Wiley: Not yet. But high definition has been great, particularly for sports, I think. Movies and … just great.
Andy Ockershausen: And that’s … it’ll be … Now it’s going to be super high definition. Now what are they going to be next, Dick? I mean the art of change in our industry is incredible.
Richard Wiley: It is.
Andy Ockershausen: And it’s been that way since the beginning. We recall the beginning days of WMAL, it was operating in an optometrist store on K Street. And then we built Channel 7 and moved it up to a bowling alley. To see these changes have been incredible in our business, and you’re responsible for most of them.
Richard Wiley: Well, I don’t say so. I’m not an engineer, but I worked on the project.
Andy Ockershausen: Yes, you did. You know, you did it from the legal standpoint. There was a lot of legality there, right? You had to-
Richard Wiley: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Andy Ockershausen: So, this is Our Town. It’s Andy Ockershausen, and we’re talking with Dick Wiley. And we’re going to talk more about our wonderful, wonderful radio business.
[Begin Commercials]Tony Cibel: Hi. Tony Cibel here to tell you about Tony & Joe’s, and Nick’s Riverside Grill at Washington Harbour in Georgetown. Spectacular new restaurants. We’ve spent a lot of time rebuilding. You’ll love it. It’s really fantastic.
For any information, you can go online to tonyandjoes.com. It’ll be a wonderful experience for the whole family. Call 202-944-4545 to make reservations. Everything is fabulous. You’ve got to come down and have some wonderful food.
Charles Mann: Hi, I’m Charles Mann. For athletes like me, playing every down in a pro game is like getting a car accident. After years of playing football in Washington, my body is broken. I’ve had countless surgeries and joint replacements.
I’ve been looking for a nonsurgical treatment since I ended my career. I heard a radio ad for a seminar about alternative treatment. It’s called Regenerative Medicine, which stimulates your own body to heal and repair itself. No surgery. No more pain. That got my attention.
I went to a seminar to learn firsthand all about it. Now, you too can benefit and receive this treatment. This is the same procedure that pro athletes use to quickly and effectively recover from injury. If you’re looking to eliminate your pain and arthritis, or if you thought surgery was
your only option, take the first step, like I did. Call 410-787-7250. Register for the next seminar and learn more about this breakthrough procedure. Seating is limited. Register now by calling 410-787-7250, and start living life again.[End Commercials]
Announcers: You’re listening to Our Town, with Andy Ockershausen. Brought to you by Best Bark Communications.
Andy Ockershausen: This is Andy Ockershausen. This is Our Town, and a conversation with Dick Wiley. We found a lot of things about television that I love, of course, but nothing means as much to me as radio. And we think podcasting is radio without a transmitter.
Richard Wiley: It’s really happening, you know? And I think there’s the Radio Show going on right down in Orlando, and what are they talking about? Podcasting. So, I think you’re a forerunner in that respect.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, that’s Janice’s idea. Dick, we were in a car driving to Rehoboth Beach, or Dewey, one of the places. And Janice said to me, “We’ve got to get busy. There’s too much going on. We’ve got to be doing a podcast.” And I said, she’ll tell you, “What’s a podcast?” That was the first time I heard the word. But she was way ahead of it and said, “We ought to talk about it.” And the next thing we know, we started talking about it and explaining it to people, and they didn’t understand. I said, “Well, we keep saying it’s radio without a transmitter. Think it’s a radio. You can get it on your phone.” But it’s been a Godsend to us in this market, believe me.
Richard Wiley: Well, it’s the computerization and the internet aspects of all, I think, media. That’s what’s happening. The internet has been the greatest development, I think, in the whole field. And that’s really what’s led to this podcast developments.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh absolutely. Technically, you mean?
Richard Wiley: Yes.
Andy Ockershausen: Of course. Well, one of the things that we found out, in soliciting people … that’s a bad word. But in encouraging people to come talk to us like we’re doing now, we had difficulty explaining to them what we were doing. They’d say, “Well where are the microphones?” I said, “The microphones are here, but it doesn’t go out.” “What do you mean, it doesn’t go out?” But to get them off of whatever, I mean the people that we’ve had, Dick, have been incredible. And they did it because of WMAL and because of what we did here-
Richard Wiley: And because of Andy Ockershausen.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, it was a market … it was ripe for us. And we were a big part of Our Town. You know, 24/7, we were alive about our city and what went on. And people remember that. And it’s a great … you know, we had a great opportunity in Our Town, and we took advantage of it, with talented people and a great radio station, from the standpoint, a technical standpoint. In addition to the technical thing, the transmission was incredible. Our signal was wonderful. I hope they kept it up. I don’t know … the AM signal. Of course, we gave that up now and went on both AM and FM. But the AM signal, you could hear it in Buffalo Gap, you could hear it through Baltimore. You know, it was a big part of our success. We made that presentation to the Redskins. Part of their success was they were on a great radio station. People could hear them. Then they didn’t. They crapped it, if you remember. Nobody could hear them. They didn’t know where they went. So, it’s power and frequency’s a big thing, Dick.
Radio Still Plays a Great Role :: It’s Audio
Richard Wiley: Well, I think radio still has a great role. And a lot of different elements, you know. But it’s audio. And for example, you’ve got satellite delivered, you’ve got all the Spotify, and now Pandora may be is sold, Sirius XM. But over-the-air radio, AM and FM, still has a great part, because it’s a sound heard around the world. Everybody listens to it. Turn on your radio, it’s right there, and it’s free, right?
Andy Ockershausen: It’s very free.
Richard Wiley: It’s amazing.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, to us, and my reason for being in radio, was a great reason to sell a product. It was great to talk to somebody almost at a point of sale, get them in their car, get them at home, get them in their bathroom, wherever. We were selling products. And it worked. And I thought that selling was a very important part of … the audience wanted to know what’s available, not just in news, but what’s available in the marketplace.
Jim Quello Served Over 23 Years on FCC
Richard Wiley: Well, Andy, it’s wonderful that after all those years, you’re still in radio, albeit podcasting, Our Town. But I think it’s terrific. You and I used to see each other at The Palm, you know, which is right near the old FCC, and-
Andy Ockershausen: Wasn’t that great? Jim Quello ate there every day and never paid for a meal.
Richard Wiley: You can’t do that anymore.
Andy Ockershausen: I know that.
Richard Wiley: Yeah, but Jim Quello was a terrific guy, great friend of mine, and he served 23 and a half years on the FCC. And he was a Democrat and John Dingell loved him, Congressman Dingell, but he was appointed four times to the Commission by Republican Presidents. So, in those days-
Andy Ockershausen: Because of John Dingell.
Richard Wiley: Yeah. Because of John Dingell.
Andy Ockershausen: [Jim Quello] was in Michigan. He worked at WJR in Detroit. I know all his background. And Jim and his wife, they were one… they finally joined Army Navy Country Club, and I would see him over there quite frequently. But he was a good friend of broadcasting, and really tried to do the right thing. He had been in the business.
Richard Wiley: Well, he … when I first came there, of course, I was just a lawyer, didn’t know the background. And it was very helpful to have Commissioner Quello there, because he was telling us the real story, of really how it worked, and what the industry was about. And, you know, I think it’s good to have commissioners with a mix of backgrounds. I think that’s helpful.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, I do, too. That’s probably true in any commission in the government that have people from the very new people to the people that have got all the experience there.
Richard Wiley: Yeah. It’s hard because there’s so much that you can’t come in with conflicts. And with Jim, it was always a concern having a broadcaster at the FCC. Sort of the fox in the hen house, you know? And … and, but you know, Jim was a high ethics guy, and it worked out. He was heavily opposed when he came on. Took him eight and a half days to get in. And his last … fourth confirmation took two minutes. Danny Inouye, Senator Inouye,…
Andy Ockershausen: He was … I just liked Jim Quello and his wife, Mary. And there’s a great story told to me, I don’t know whether it’s true or not, but Bob Lee’s father, Robert Lee … According to Bobby, his mother told him the story that he was in an interview with Lyndon Johnson about the job, and he was going to be promoted, and so forth, and he got a phone call, and the President said to him, “Bob, take that phone call. It’s your wife.” And see, he had to go took a phone call. He said, “Okay, Rex, why are you bothering me?” And she said, “When you’re finished, on the way home, stop. We don’t have any cream.” Remember her?
Richard Wiley: Well, yes I do.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, she was a pisser.
Bob Lee – Served 28 Years on FCC
Richard Wiley: And you know, Bob Lee was the only guy that outlasted Jim Quello. He served 28 years. Four seven-year terms.
Andy Ockershausen: Chicago guy.
Richard Wiley: A Chicago guy.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, I know it. I loved Bob Lee.
Richard Wiley: A lot of fun. He was a lot of fun, and a smart, smart guy.
Andy Ockershausen: A good friend of broadcasting, but nobody’s the friend that you were. Dick, you’re the best thing that ever happened to this industry and we … you know all our people, the NAB, God bless them, Vince Wasilewski, is not here anymore, Dick Chapin’s in bad shape. But all the people you and I knew in the business, some of them aren’t with us anymore, but everyone will say that Dick Wiley was the man. And congrats to you for … you’ve lasted a long time, Wiley. Of course, you owned the business here. I’m an employee. I’m like you, I never went to … I never wanted to own anything. I just wanted to be a part of something.
Richard Wiley: Listen, as long as Andy Ockershausen is clicking, I’m going to be there, Andy.
Andy Ockershausen: Good for you.
Richard Wiley: Not going to let you outlast me.
Andy Ockershausen: Dick, you’re the best. This has been a great conversation with Richard Wiley, the greatest Commissioner in the history of the Federal Communications Commission. Do you agree to that, Janice? We do. And please give your family our best. This has been Our Town. This is Andy Ockershausen.
Announcer: You’ve been listening to Our Town, Season 4, presented by GEICO our home town favorite with you host Andy Ockershausen. New Our Town episodes are released each Tuesday and Thursday. Drop us a line with your comments or suggestions. See us on Facebook, or visit our website at ourtowndc.com. Our special thanks to Ken Hunter, our technical director, and WMAL radio in Washington, D.C., and thanks to GEICO. Fifteen minutes can save you 15 percent or more on care insurance.
Tell Us What You Think