Don Quayle, the first president of National Public Radio, passed away Friday at the age of 84. Quayle, an alumnus of Utah State University, helped establish NPR in 1970 and served as its president until 1973. He was also instrumental in building up KUSU, which would later become Utah Public Radio after affiliating with NPR.
In 2013, Quayle spoke to UPR about his beginnings in radio.
“I started listening to radio when I was working at a commercial station in Logan,” Quayle said. “I felt that the quality of the program service wasn’t sufficient and that if we could have radio with high-quality programming without commercials that would help a great deal. That’s why we needed the educational background and the backing of Utah State University.”
Quayle was for a time the head of the Educational Radio Network, a forerunner to NPR. He said that he was impressed at the growth of UPR from its founding to the present.
“Having had the pleasure of being at Utah State some 60 years ago and being able to participate in the beginning of KUSU, it has been amazing to view the growth of the station and the program service offered over the years,” he said.
In 1973, Quayle was succeeded as the president of NPR by Lee Frischknecht, also a graduate of Utah State.