James A. Fellows, 77, an advocate of high ideals, strategic planning and executive training for public television, died in his sleep Friday, Jan. 6, at a nursing home in Millville, N.J.
He had been besieged by Parkinson’s disease and the lasting effects of a nearly fatal car accident in 2003 and a stroke in 2004. Jim represented stations on the national scene for 40 years, serving as the last president of the National Association of Educational Broadcasters, a forerunner and parent of PBS and NPR. Recognizing that few station leaders had ever been trained as managers and budgeters, he arranged for development of intensive short courses taught at business schools. He founded Current as one of NAEB’s last projects in 1980 and remained its publisher, in effect, for more than 20 years — advising its editors, never interfering, inspiring them with his sense of purpose.