Remembering Who We Are

Richard A. Foreman’s remarks during the Leadership Award Breakfast

Thank you, Dan and Jim. I want to thank my fellow directors of our beloved Foundation for this great honor and also congratulate my very worthy fellow recipients.

Also, I want to extend special thanks to two folks, my friend and partner Jeff Shapiro, along with my sister Anne, both who travelled from New England for this Award. Sis, this morning as I tooted over here from the Wynn in my Rascal Scooter, terrorizing those in the hallways, I wonder if our late mother is rethinking my Driver Education Classes!

This morning I got a flash of déjà vu from another breakfast meeting in May of 1995, when I received a call from the “Syracuse Statesman” Jim Delmonico, who asked me to join the Board of the Broadcasters Foundation. At that time the Treasury was less than $50,000 and we were serving only five recipients!

In those early days, this Leadership Breakfast, with its first charter sponsor, our NAMB, was held at the Hilton, with several of us begging those in the halls outside to come in for a “free” breakfast!

Those early Breakfast Meetings honored several legends in our profession: Ragan Henry, Jim Schulke, Tony Malara, Frances Preston and the estimable FCC Chairman Dick Wiley.

In the years following, Delmonico was succeeded by the legendary statesman Ward Quaal, who, in 1998, was succeeded by the great Ed McLaughlin, our late Chairman Emeritus who left us just last year. And in whose revered name we recently started a Memorial Tribute Fund that to date has raised almost $400,000.

As chairman, Ed stirred the pot by adding creative new directors – and indicated that if we couldn’t help more folks through our outreach, the organization should simply close its damn doors. He also mandated that all our directors had two distinct Missions. “To Give and to Get!” To GIVE of their own purse generously and GET others to also give of their purses, with equal generosity.

Then in 2005, our great, dynamic leaderPhilLombardobecamechairman. In order to convince Phil to take the job, I told him there were several good, and some not so stellar comments about his somewhat “controversial” persona.

I told him there was a feeling among some that he was a “hard driver” He immediately said – “Dick, I will NOT be a ‘hard ass’ with this extraordinary and unique organization, I promise. But I am going to work damn hard as I always do, because I passionately believe in your wonderful mission!”

It was clear we had the right person, yet again! Phil, his Board and his beloved Vice Chair, Stu Olds, also created new organizational mandates and structure for new avenues to raise funds: the Angel Initiative, the Guardian Fund and the Celebrity Golf Tournament.

As a result of his amazing accomplishments and despite his strong resistance to the idea, Stu Olds, George Beasley, Wade Hargrove and I proposed renaming our annual Las Vegas golf outing the Philip J. Lombardo Tournament, as it’s known to this day.

We then handed over the leadership reins in 2016 to the great and universally respected Dan Mason. We continued our remarkable growth and outreach hit new heights through relief efforts for hurricanes, floods, wildfires and other natural disasters. Dan’s personal efforts and industry-wide popularity and propelled the Foundation forward.

And I’m not at all sure I should mention this, but I can’t see any harm in telling you that every one of these leaders I’ve mentioned have personally given hundreds of thousands of dollars from their own purses toward our cause of helping broadcasters – past and present – who have fallen on hard times.

Every one of them continue to put their money where their hearts reside. As a matter of fact the chairman of the Guardian Fund, Bill O’Shaughnessy, recently accused Lombardo and Mason of doing some of the very best work of

their lives on behalf of the Foundation, and I would agree.

Your Foundation now provides urgent outreach to over 40 states with millions of dollars dispersed for medicine and the bare necessities for life’s emergencies. We’ve come a long way, Baby!

So, again my congratulations to those fellow honorees much more worthy than Dick Foreman.

And if you’ll just permit me, and grant me one request, I’d just like to ask each of you here this morning to fill out those donor cards at your table and make a contribution. In doing so, you’ll be following the lead and example of Delmonico, Quaal, McLaughlin, Lombardo and Dan Mason!

Because (and you heard it before) bad things can happen to good people. And that’s where you come in to assist.

Just a year ago, at this very microphone, our friend and beloved late colleague Joe Bilotta, who left us this past August, said in his touching, final remarks, “There are still good days and bad days, and today is a very good day.”

And indeed Joe, today is a very good day, because we at last have a chance to recognize those who have made this organization great, by remembering who we are and where we come from.

Thank you.

You can watch the complete video of the event at the Broadcasters Foundation website.