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Pai Statement on the Death of Former FCC Commissioner Wells

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Released: November 12, 2013

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202-418-0500

445 12th Street, S.W.


Washington, DC 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.
See MCI v. FCC

, 515 F.2d 385 (D.C. Cir. 1974).



November 12, 2013
Matthew Berry, 202-418-2005



I was saddened to learn of the recent passing of former FCC Commissioner Robert Wells.
Commissioner Wells was the first Kansan to serve on the FCC and a distinguished son of the
Sunflower State.
His path to the FCC began in 1936, when he worked as a radio broadcaster while
attending Garden City Community College. After serving in World War II, Commissioner Wells
returned to Kansas to resume his career in broadcasting. He would eventually become general
manager of the local radio station in Garden City and then general manager of the Harris Radio
Group. Commissioner Wells also served as president of the Kansas Association of Radio
Broadcasters, publisher of the Garden City Telegram, and president of the Garden City Rotary
Commissioner Wells became the first broadcaster to serve on the Commission in 1969.
President Richard Nixon nominated him, and Senator Bob Dole set high expectations for his
service, saying that “[t]he presence of men such as Bob Wells in positions of high governmental
authority is one of the greatest assurances we as Senators can provide the American people that
the public interest will be served first, wisely and fairly.” Commissioner Wells did just that,
promoting the public interest throughout his tenure at the agency.
Commissioner Wells’s career should serve as an inspiration to all Kansans, and indeed,
all Americans. Rising from a small town in the Great Plains, he went on to make an impact on
the national stage. In addition to serving at the FCC, he also became chairman of the Board of
Directors of Broadcast Media, Inc., the country’s largest music rights organization, and president
of the Associated Press Broadcasters.
Last Thursday, Commissioner Wells passed away in Lawrence, Kansas at the age of 94.
I offer my condolences to his wife Kay and his entire family.

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