The Board of Directors of Broadcast Music, Inc.® (BMI) saluted legendary BMI composer John Williams on April 15 at its 60th annual dinner honoring the Directors of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). Hosted by BMI Board Chairman Jack Sander and BMI President & CEO Del Bryant, the dinner was held at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas during the NAB convention.
Saluted for a “lifetime of brilliant music and performances that have thrilled audiences throughout the world on television, on radio, in concert halls and at the movies,” Williams was recognized as an iconic composer who almost single-handedly popularized cinematic orchestral music. His music has been the lexicon of the broadcasting world for a generation, with his stunning and memorable themes spanning films such as Star Wars, Jaws, E.T. and Superman; and televisions series, shows and specials including Checkmate, Lost In Space and the Olympic Games.
“John Williams is truly America’s composer and conductor,” said Sander. “He has been one of the most influential musicians of our era, introducing audiences worldwide to orchestral music through his themes and scores. One of America’s greatest cultural icons, his melodic gifts helped make the films, television shows and orchestral works he created resonate across the globe.”
Bryant added, “The management and Board of Directors of BMI have chosen John for this honor because of the impact his music has made across all media — broadcast and digital — and the cultural contributions he has made as a composer, musician, conductor, television personality and philanthropist.”
Also at the dinner were renowned songwriter/artist/actor Mac Davis (“Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me,” “In The Ghetto”), legendary BMI songwriter/composer Charlie Fox (“Killing Me Softly,” Happy Days theme), Philly Soul pioneers Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff (“If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” “Expressway To Your Heart”), prolific television news theme composer Frank Gari (Eyewitness News theme) and multiple Emmy- and Grammy-winner Mike Post (Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue, Law and Order). Joining BMI’s Board of Directors were NAB President & CEO David Rehr, executives and Board members of the NAB, and current and former FCC Commissioners.
The dinner has been held annually during the NAB convention since 1949, when it began as a clambake at Chicago’s Blackstone Hotel. “Over the years the event has become the senior annual meeting place of the broadcast industry,” said Don West, former editor of Broadcasting & Cable, who began attending the dinner in 1960. “Owners and executives of this most competitive industry, who spend their days and nights fighting each other for a quarter of a rating point, were as one … once a year. The friendships formed at the dinner extended throughout the years, if not the ages.”