Bill Shadel, broadcaster who covered D-Day and moderated a presidential debate, dies at 96

Monday, January 31st 2005, 8:40 am
By: News On 6

RENTON, Wash. (AP) _ Bill Shadel, who covered D-Day for CBS Radio during World War II, became an ABC television anchor and moderated the third presidential debate between Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy in 1960, died Saturday at an assisted living home in this Seattle suburb, relatives and associates said. He was 96.

Shadel, who worked with Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Eric Sevareid and Howard K. Smith at CBS, was the first host of ``Face the Nation'' and later became a University of Washington communications professor.

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

Shadel began in journalism as a National Rifle Association correspondent, became editor of the group's magazine The American Rifleman and in 1943 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, Shadel was one of 28 who was 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 Shadel's reporting from that experience earned him a ``Witness to the Truth'' award from the Simon Wiesenthal Center in 1990.

After the war Shadel moved to Washington, D.C., and switched to television, working at WTOP-TV as a reporter for Cronkite, who was then an anchor for the local news show.

After helping to launch ``Face the Nation,'' he became anchor of the ABC evening news, the role that landed him the presidential debate moderating job in 1960.

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

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

Shadel retired in 1975.