James Delmonico, Former BFA Chairman, Dies

The longtime GE Broadcasting executive oversaw the transformation and revitalization of The Broadcast Pioneers into the Broadcasters Foundation of America. He was 91.

James J. Delmonico, the former chairman of the Broadcasters Foundation of America, who is credited with the resurrection of the Broadcast Pioneers and changing the organization’s name to the Broadcasters Foundation, died Jan. 21 in Syracuse, N.Y.  He was 91.

Assuming the chairmanship of what was at that time The Broadcast Pioneers in late 1991, Delmonico instituted what became the new age for the organization under the new moniker as the Broadcasters Foundation.  Among his many accomplishments was the elevation of Ward L. Quaal to the chairmanship on Delmonico’s stepping down from the position in 1994.

Commenting on his passing, Broadcasters Foundation Chairman Philip J. Lombardo praised Jim’s leadership and guidance: “Jim was a tireless leader for the organization, inspiring the appointment of many notables to the board of directors with new focus, determination, and purpose.  Jim was known for challenging his fellow board members to be supportive both financially and by encouraging others to do so.  Under his chairmanship, Jim brought new strengths to the organization in those early and important bedrock years.  He will be missed.”

Inheriting an organization with a treasury of less than $30,000 and few grant recipients in 1991, through Delmonico’s leadership and inspiration, and that of his successors — Ward L. Quaal, Edward F. McLaughlin and Chairman Philip J. Lombardo — the organization today has an outreach that will exceed $700,000 in grants this year.

As a broadcaster, Delmonico played a significant role in General Electric’s expansion to radio and television. He was elected vice president of both GE Broadcasting and GE Cablevision Corp. and transferred to Schenectady, N.Y., where, in 1974, he took on the added responsibility of being the vice president and general manager of WRGB-TV, WGY-AM and WGY-FM.

He was named “Broadcaster of the Year” in 1991 by the New York State Broadcasters Association (NYSBA), and as a director of the organization as well as chairman of the NYSBA’s legislative committee.


A funeral for Delmonico will be held Tuesday, Jan., 24, at Blessed Sacrament Church in Syracuse, N.Y.  Donations to the Broadcasters Foundation can be made in Jim Delmonico’s name at www.broadcastersfoundation.org, or by contacting 212-373-8250 or [email protected].

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Ruth Windsor says:

January 24, 2012 at 11:09 am

When reflecting upon Jim Delmonico, the person, my thoughts center on it being a unique, invigorating and memorable experience simply to be in his presence. There was always a take-away.

Jim had a marvelous wit and his impersonations of colleagues were perfect,funny and always well meaning. He was a raconteur and his ruminations were wonderful whether true to the facts or purposefully fictional. His stories were so well told that you were left guessing and often they carried a pay load. Jim spoke of Up State New York in a language and flair much like Pete HamilI writes about New York City. I often thought Jim might have loved being in front of the camera or microphone, but I don’t think he would ever admit that.

Jim viewed his radio and television stations as an extension of himself. He took the business personally and with a joy and loyalty only matched by his love for his native Syracuse. It is ironic that he never managed stations there, however it is fitting that his son Joel manages the Clear Channel group. In Albany where Jim managed WGY-WGFM and later owned part of WRGB-TV ,he spoke of his friends not as titans but as neighbors, mothers, fathers, shop-keepers and folks who worked with their hands. He viewed the audience in the same fashion and Jim was able to parlay that empathy into a on-air photo copy of the market. If Jim owned a grocery story he would have managed it the same way.

The list of Jim’s contributions, honors and accomplishments are legion and I will leave that chronology to others. However, I will remember him for his wonderful stories so many of which revealed fundamental truths and life lessons. It was a privilege to be in Jim’s presence because all you needed to do was listen!
Gordon Hastings

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