WASHINGTON: Dawson B. “Tack” Nail passed away this afternoon after being hospitalized in critical condition for a fall, according to Dennis Wharton, executive vice president of the National Association of Broadcasters. The 82-year-old covered the business of broadcasting in Washington, D.C. for more than 50 years and continued to be a fixture at newsworthy events up until the days before his death.
“Tack was a great friend who mentored many a journalist, protected many a source, and provided us all with plenty of laughs through the years. We grieve for his family, while we celebrate the life of a reporter whose decency, integrity and simple kindness were unmatched,” Wharton said in a statement.
Nail began his trade career in 1955 as a rewrite man for “Broadcasting” magazine, now “Broadcasting & Cable.” He eventually moved to Warren Publishing, which puts out “Communications Daily.” He was profiled by Kim McAvoy for “B&C” in 1995, when he was awarded the NAB’s “Spirit of Broadcasting Award.”
“If you don’t have a favorite story about Tack Nail, you haven’t lived life to the fullest,” McAvoy wrote, relating one about Nail pulling a former FCC commissioner into a swimming pool. Antics aside, Nail is a respected institution in D.C. broadcast industry circles.
“When he would start a press conference question with ‘Sir,’ I would hold my breath,” one former NAB staffer told McAvoy. “You never knew what would come next.”
(The accompanying photo is Nail with “NBC Nightly News” anchor, Brian Williams, at the recent NAB State Leadership Conference.)
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