BFA Honors Excellence With Quaal Awards

The Broadcasters Foundation of America presented its annual Ward L. Quaal Awards to Walter Liss, Lowry Mays, Jim Gabbert, Sol and Larry Taishoff, Bud Walters, and Cecil Walker.

Liss, president of the ABC Owned Television Stations Group, made a rare public appearance to accept a Ward L. Quaal Pioneer Award.

“I have not gotten many awards,” Liss said in acknowledging the honor at a breakfast held each year in conjunction with the NAB Show. “I try to stay very much under the radar.”

Liss credited the general managers that run the 10 ABC stations on a day-to-day basis for making his job the easiest in the business. “My phone doesn’t ring very much. … That’s because we just have great management in the field.”

The industry downturn is the worst ever, he said. But, he added, “it will all come back and it will be just fine in the next year or two” if stations remain committed to producing the “best possible” newscasts.

Liss also gave a bow to a list of mentors that including Tom Murphy and Dan Burke, the two broadcast entrepreneurs who built CapCities/ABC.

“I have never had a bad day in 50 years,” he added.

Riffing on Liss’s comment, fellow honoree Mays, founder of Clear Channel Communications, said that he received a lot of calls when he was building and running his station group. “Clearly, I was not as good a manager.”

Also receiving Quaal Awards: Gabbert, one-time owner of KIOI-FM and KOFY-TV, both San Francisco; the late Sol and Larry Taishoff, the founder and longtime publisher, respectively, of Broadcasting & Cable; Walters, founder of the Cromwell radio group; and Walker, former CEO of Gannett.