The message about the death of former RAB CEO Gary Fries was passed along Friday morning by his son Todd. “I want to thank everyone for there support and prayers. This morning at 12:13am Arizona time my father peacefully passed away. In leaving this world for a better place, he did it in typical Gary fashion. His determination and heart astounded the entire hospice staff. In their process they would most likely had notified the family on Saturday that it would be soon, but in typical Gary mentality he proved them all wrong going until Friday. For this particular group of people I thought it might put a small smile on your face to know that he left on his terms.”
The family respectfully suggests that any memorial donations be made to The Broadcasters Foundation of America, with the mission to improve the quality of life and maintain the personal dignity of men and women in the radio and television broadcast profession who find themselves in acute financial need due to a critical illness, accident, advanced age or other serious misfortune. Please send donations to The Broadcasters Foundation of America, c/o James B. Thompson, President, 125 W. 55th Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10019-5366, or a charity of your choice. Services are pending, and will be private in Nebraska.
A statement from the current RAB President and CEO Erica Farber:
“It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of our friend and colleague, Gary Fries. Gary served the RAB and industry for 14 years and during his tenure as radio’s leading advocate he provided tremendous leadership and guidance. Under his direction, the RAB increased its membership and introduced and advanced numerous sales training programs. He spearheaded radio to the forefront in media accountability, playing a dominant role in the development of RAEL working with advertisers, agencies and broadcasters to further the industry’s understanding of how radio advertising works. He also encouraged radio to embrace electronic data interchange, urging the industry to adopt electronic invoicing.
Upon his departure from the RAB, he left with the title of President Emeritus and continued to hold a seat on the RAB Board to his very last day. With a large physical presence and a strong personality he always made his presence known. On a personal note, Gary and I partnered together on many initiatives and I always found a welcoming partner and friend.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this time.”
Former NAB CEO
“Gary was one of the giants of our industry. One of the truly good people and someone who dedicated his entire life to the business. A wonderful man.”
“I had the pleasure of personally working directly with Gary for many years and always knew that he represented the business side of radio in a focused, professional manner. The RAB staff respected his leadership and I did as well. We shared many laughs together and many radio people will miss Gary.”
Executive VP of Radio
“Accomplished radio broadcaster? Yes. More importantly a super human being always at the ready to promote our industry and give a teaching hand up to those who needed it. Thanks Gary for your unselfish contributions to Radio and your friendship. Rest In Peace.”
“Gary was a true leader and a close personal friend. While he was the head of the RAB the radio industry went from 9 billion to 20. He was a very active and charitable board member of the Broadcasters Foundation.”
Broadcasters Foundation of America
“As Chair of The RAB at the end of Gary’s tenure, we enjoyed many off the record conversations about the industry, the inevitable move away from traditional structures and the cadre of personalities involved in industry leadership. I was honored to give the farewell speech at the RAB dinner honoring him for a great body of work. Rest In Peace my friend.”
“Gary Fries served the radio industry with dignity, integrity, and vision as radio broadcaster as well as head of the RAB for 14 years. He will be missed by many but leaves a lasting legacy.”