[Congressional Record (Bound Edition), Volume 147 (2001), Part 14]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page 19710]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]

                              HALL OF FAME


                          HON. RICHARD E. NEAL

                            of massachusetts

                    in the house of representatives

                       Thursday, October 11, 2001

  Mr. NEAL of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a few 
moments today to pay tribute to Bill Putnam, a friend and constituent 
of mine, and a pioneer in the broadcasting arena.
  On November 12, 2001, in New York City, Bill Putnam will be inducted 
into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame for his long and distinguished 
career in television. It is my privilege to share with you his many 
accomplishments and to recognize his great work in the Springfield, 
Massachusetts area. I am pleased to share these remarks and his 
accomplishments in the Congressional Record and to congratulate him on 
his well-deserved honor.
  Bill Putnam started WWLP in Springfield, the first licensed UHF 
station in the United States. WWLP has a long history of ``firsts'' in 
Springfield for a small market station. The station ran editorials, 
used longer news formats, ran an ``As Schools Match Wits'' high school 
quiz show, and aired a considerable amount of local programming. For 
more than 30 years, Bill Putnam himself did the editorials for the 
station, making WWLP the example of what local television is supposed 
to be.
  Bill Putnam concentrated not only on the local market, but was a 
visionary into what broadcasting should become. He lobbied extensively 
for changes that would treat UHF signals on televisions the same as VHF 
signals. In the 1950's, many television sets either did not have UHF 
tuners or had tuners that were simply not as good as their VHF 
counterparts. The ``All Channel Act'' and subsequent FCC regulations, 
of which Bill Putnam was an outspoken advocate, made UHF stations able 
to get the market share that made them viable in mixed markets. In 
turn, this created the platform that gave us independent television, 
and is today the backbone of FOX and the UPN and WB networks.
  Bill Putnam later served on the MSTV Board, a reversal that some 
found ironic since it was a group started by VHF owners trying to keep 
UHF people out of their market. He was the Secretary of the NBC 
Affiliates Board and was the head of the All-Industry committee on 
Teletext in the late 1970s. His contributions were integral as to why 
Fin-Syn regulations were redone in the early 1980s. Bill Putnam was an 
outspoken advocate on this issue.
  Bill Putnam's interests are greater than broadcasting alone. Bill is 
a past President and Treasurer of the American Alpine Club and 
continues to serve as a U.S. delegate to the UIAA, the international 
standards club for climbing. He is the longest serving member of that 
  In addition, he was written and had published 11 books, with more 
than two currently underway.
  Bill Putnam is also a decorated and distinguished patriot. He is a 
World War II veteran with two Purple Hearts, a Combat Infantry Badge, 
and a Silver Star, and he has the scars to prove it. He enlisted as a 
private in the military and came out as a first lieutenant.
  Bill Putnam is currently the Sole Trustee of the Lowell Observatory 
in Flagstaff, Arizona where he resides with his wife, Kitty Broman, who 
is also well known in broadcasting circles.
  Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to honor Bill Putnam on being 
recognized and honored by the Broadcasters Hall of Fame for a long and 
distinguished career that has benefitted the lives of so many in the 
Western Massachusetts area. Congratulations on the good work.