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TV Anchor Bill Shadel Dies; CBS, WTOP Radio Reporter

From News Services
Tuesday, February 1, 2005; Page B05

Bill Shadel, 96, who covered D-Day for CBS Radio, became an ABC television anchor and moderated the third presidential debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon in 1960, died Jan. 29 at a retirement center in Renton, Wash., near Seattle. He had prostate cancer.

Mr. Shadel, who worked with Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Eric Sevareid and Howard K. Smith at CBS, later became a communications professor at the University of Washington.

Tapes of Bill Shadel's firsthand wartime broadcasts for CBS Radio have long been a teaching tool. (Ken Lambert -- Seattle Times)

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Tapes of his wartime broadcasts are still used in journalism schools across the country.

Willard Franklin Shadel was born in Milton, Wis., and graduated from Andrews University in Michigan. He received a master's degree in history from the University of Michigan.

He began in journalism in Washington, D.C., as a National Rifle Association correspondent and became editor of the group's magazine, the American Rifleman. In 1943, he assigned himself to Europe, where he was quickly recruited by Murrow to help CBS cover World War II.

Out of more than 500 U.S. reporters in Europe, Mr. Shadel was among 28 present to give firsthand reports on the D-Day landings.

He and Murrow were the first reporters to see the concentration camp at Buchenwald on April 12, 1945, the day President Franklin D. Roosevelt died, and Mr. Shadel's reporting from that experience earned him a "Witness to the Truth" award from the Simon Wiesenthal Center in 1990.

After the war, Mr. Shadel returned to the District and worked at WTOP radio for about 10 years, until about 1957.

In 1958, he moved to ABC in New York, working in radio and television. He soon became the anchor of ABC's evening news program in New York, replacing John Daly, who retired. That job landed him the presidential debate moderating job in 1960.

Nixon and Mr. Shadel were in separate studios in Los Angeles and Kennedy on a soundstage in New York, a technical achievement at the time, but in substance the debate was "a nothing," Mr. Shadel said in a Seattle Times interview in September.

For John Glenn's three-orbit flight in 1962, Mr. Shadel was in the anchor chair for 12 hours, starting at 6:30 a.m.

Mr. Shadel retired from broadcast journalism in 1963 and from the University of Washington in 1975.

He was a former president of the Radio-Television Correspondents Association.

His marriage to Marion Kocher Shadel ended in divorce. A son from that marriage, Dr. Willard F. Shadel Jr., died in 1993.

Survivors include his wife, Julie Strouse Shadel, whom he married in 1950, of Renton; a son from his first marriage, Gerald Shadel of Oak Harbor, Wash.; two sons from his second marriage, David Shadel of Kent, Wash., and Douglas Shadel of Seattle; and two grandchildren.

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