Ward Quaal

Executive


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-hour interview, Ward Quaal (1919-2010) describes his lifelong association with Chicago television station WGN, where he began as an announcer and worked his way up to station manager and later president of the WGN Continental Broadcasting Company.  Quaal describes the programming on WGN through the years as well as the evolution of television technology. He outlines WGN's conversion to a "superstation" and the station's subsequent financial success. He speaks about working closely with government agencies in matters regarding the broadcast industry (allocation of stations, the Fairness Doctrine, etc.) as well as the government's role in regulating the industry. Quaal passionately advocates the need for local stations to provide their communities with relevant programming. He also talks about writing the textbook "Broadcast Management", and its usefulness to aspiring station managers. Karen Herman conducted the interview in Chicago, IL on October 12, 2004.

"We had a slogan for the Tribune properties: 'Quality, Integrity, Responsibility, Performance.' And for WGN we added- 'the most respected call letters in broadcasting.' To this day no one has ever questioned that. I'm proud of that."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
On his duties at WGN and getting WGN on the air; on the first day of programming at WGN, and on the eventual switch over to color; on going to work for Crossley Broadcasting Corporation
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on his style as an announcer, and on studying broadcasting in college;
On how he came to work at WGN, and on his early duties there; on the country entering Word War II and on announcing the attack on Pearl Harbor; on getting into management at WGN

Chapter 2

On his duties at WGN and getting WGN on the air; on the first day of programming at WGN, and on the eventual switch over to color; on going to work for Crossley Broadcasting Corporation
On Louis Caldwell, and on the Hoover Commission Executive Broadcasting Task Force; on his responsibilities at Crossley Broadcasting Corporation; on religious programming and on news programming at WGN

Chapter 3

On early sports programming at WGN; on talk shows and programming for women at WGN and programming for minorities; on the Hollywood Blacklist
On the demographics and audience of WGN; on being appointed the head of WGN Continental Broadcasting in 1960, and on his management style in broadcasting
On his relationship with John F. Kennedy; on the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and how it was covered by WGN; on Newton N. Minow

Chapter 4

On his book "Broadcast Management"; on how television programming had evolved by the '70s and '80s, and programming national shows; on Bozo's Circus, which originated in Chicago
On the establishment of The Ward L. Quaal Company; on his relationship with President Ronald Reagan

Chapter 5

On his relationship with Ronald Reagan, and on Reagan's attitude toward broadcasting; on working on the initial advisory panel on HDTV in 1987, and on the deadline for analog to digital conversion; on WGN becoming a superstation
On the then current state of Tribune; on the impact of cable and new media on the industry

Chapter 6

On advertising clutter; on how the internet has impacted television; on role he feels government should play in broadcasting
On media consolidation; on his most important decisions as an executive; on the importance of the NAB and on career regrets
On his family; on advice to aspiring television executives
Shows

Bozo's Circus

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Ward Quaal on Bozo's Circus, which originated in Chicago
Topics

Advertising and Sponsorship

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Ward Quaal on advertising clutter

Historic Events and Social Change

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Ward Quaal on the country entering Word War II and on announcing the attack on Pearl Harbor
Ward Quaal on the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and how it was covered by WGN

Hollywood Blacklist

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Ward Quaal on the Hollywood Blacklist

Industry Crossroads

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Ward Quaal on the Hollywood Blacklist

JFK Assassination and Funeral

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Ward Quaal on the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and how it was covered by WGN

John F. Kennedy

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Ward Quaal on his relationship with John F. Kennedy
Ward Quaal on the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and how it was covered by WGN

Media Consolidation

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Ward Quaal on media consolidation

Network Creation

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Ward Quaal on WGN becoming a superstation

New Media

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Ward Quaal on the impact of cable and new media on the industry
Ward Quaal on how the internet has impacted television

Ronald Reagan

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Ward Quaal on his relationship with President Ronald Reagan
Ward Quaal on his relationship with Ronald Reagan, and on Reagan's attitude toward broadcasting
Ward Quaal on his lobbying President Ronald Reagan against the Fairness Doctrine

Technological Innovation

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Ward Quaal on working on the initial advisory panel on HDTV in 1987, and on the deadline for analog to digital conversion

Television Industry

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Ward Quaal on getting into management at WGN
Ward Quaal on his duties at WGN and getting WGN on the air
Ward Quaal on the first day of programming at WGN, and on the eventual switch over to color
Ward Quaal on going to work for Crossley Broadcasting Corporation
Ward Quaal on Louis Caldwell, and on the Hoover Commission Executive Broadcasting Task Force
Ward Quaal on his responsibilities at Crossley Broadcasting Corporation
Ward Quaal on the Hollywood Blacklist
Ward Quaal on being appointed the head of WGN Continental Broadcasting in 1960, and on his management style in broadcasting
Ward Quaal on how television programming had evolved by the '70s and '80s, and programming national shows
Ward Quaal on WGN becoming a superstation
Ward Quaal on the then current state of Tribune
Ward Quaal on the impact of cable and new media on the industry
Ward Quaal on advertising clutter
Ward Quaal on how the internet has impacted television
Ward Quaal on role he feels government should play in broadcasting
Ward Quaal on media consolidation

Television and the Presidency

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Ward Quaal on his relationship with John F. Kennedy
Ward Quaal on the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and how it was covered by WGN
Ward Quaal on his relationship with President Ronald Reagan
Ward Quaal on his relationship with Ronald Reagan, and on Reagan's attitude toward broadcasting
Ward Quaal on his lobbying President Ronald Reagan against the Fairness Doctrine

War

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Ward Quaal on the country entering Word War II and on announcing the attack on Pearl Harbor

World War II

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Ward Quaal on the country entering Word War II and on announcing the attack on Pearl Harbor
Professions

Executives

View Profession
Ward Quaal on the demographics and audience of WGN
Ward Quaal on being appointed the head of WGN Continental Broadcasting in 1960, and on his management style in broadcasting
Ward Quaal on his book "Broadcast Management"
Ward Quaal on the establishment of The Ward L. Quaal Company
Ward Quaal on continuing to work, and on his great success at a television executive
Ward Quaal on what makes a good program and on the then-future of broadcasting
Ward Quaal on his most important decisions as an executive
Ward Quaal on the importance of the NAB and on career regrets
Ward Quaal on advice to aspiring television executives

Station Manager

View Profession
Ward Quaal on the demographics and audience of WGN
Ward Quaal on being appointed the head of WGN Continental Broadcasting in 1960, and on his management style in broadcasting
Ward Quaal on his book "Broadcast Management"
Ward Quaal on the establishment of The Ward L. Quaal Company
Ward Quaal on continuing to work, and on his great success at a television executive
Ward Quaal on what makes a good program and on the then-future of broadcasting
Ward Quaal on his most important decisions as an executive
Ward Quaal on the importance of the NAB and on career regrets
Ward Quaal on advice to aspiring television executives
Genres

News and Documentary

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Ward Quaal on WGN's news programming, and on the station being part of Tribune

Religious Programming

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Ward Quaal on religious programming

Sports

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Ward Quaal on early sports programming at WGN

Talk Shows

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Ward Quaal on talk shows and programming for women at WGN and programming for minorities
People

Newton N. Minow

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Ward Quaal on Newton N. Minow

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