On June 9th 2001, Broadcast Pioneers member Frank Nise passed away at the age of 90. His contribution to the broadcast and media industries is legendary.
Frank worked for AT&T for over 47 years and was involved in the recording transmission of the legendary Walt Disney movie, Fantasia. It was his responsibility to transmit the mixed audio version of the music soundtrack, as performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Leopold Stokowski, from Philadelphia's Academy of Music on South Broad Street in Center City Philadelphia to the Disney Studios in Los Angeles, California.
Most people may not be aware that the performance was transmitted over telephone lines to LA where the sensitive vacuum tube recording equipment was housed. It was thought to be too expensive to transport and house the entire Orchestra to the west coast. In fact, when the plan was originally thought about, engineers across the country said that it was impossible. It wasn't. Frank Nise is known as one of the fathers of the modern day broadcast line.
Nise was also security cleared by the federal government to do sensitive communications work for the Federal Government. In the late forties, Frank assumed duties that involved the relationship between AT&T and the newly formed television networks of NBC, CBS, ABC and Dumont. Nise was involved in many broadcasts including "Wide Wide World" with Dave Garroway, both the Republican and Democratic Conventions from Philadelphia in 1948 and the first Miss America remote for television which aired in 1953. He was also responsible for support in the laying of the transatlantic cable and for coaxial cable transmission.
In 1969, he formed Nise Productions, Inc. with his son, Broadcast Pioneers member Michael Nise. While Mike received much of the recognition and acknowledgements, Frank was an integral and powerful part, in a quiet and unassuming way, of every decision made in production and business for the company.
Prior to his retirement from AT&T, Frank Nise was involved in the production of the record album, "The Story of Howdy Doody" with the original NBC cast. He also recorded Philadelphia baseball games that eventually was produced, by Michael and Frank in conjunction with the Philadelphia Phillies, as the LP, "The 100 Year Anniversary of the Philadelphia Phillies."
After his retirement in 1976, Frank continued to produce and executive produce over 200 radio and television commercials, including those that won creative awards, including a local Addy (the Philadelphia Advertising Club) and multiple Liberty Bell Awards. He was co-publisher of two entertainment magazines, one of which was distributed by the 7-11 stores in 3 states and executive produced multiple nationally distributed music productions including Capitol Records.
Beginning on October 12, 1981, Frank & Mike Nise began a 12 year run of 4 television programs (including Dancin' On Air) that reached a total of 3200 shows produced, including more than half that was viewed nationally on the USA Network and the WGN Superstation.
Although his musical taste was primarily classical, his ability to relate to the "new music" was exceptional. He also had a masterful relationship with the staff, the crew and the kids who participated over the 12 years. They all loved "Poppy."
Although Dick Clark is recognized for being "the oldest living teenager in America," it may be said that Frank Nise really held the crown from 1981 to 2001 as he was 70 years old when the teen program launched and was 81 when the program ceased production.
For what can be said of the beautiful relationship between father and son, one cannot omit the powerful behind the scenes support of both by Ida Nise, Frank's wife and Mike's Mother. She was also a member of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia. She refused the spotlight but was a brilliant beacon whose values of diversity, integrity and intelligence will also live on through the business and her son, Michael.
It truly was an exceptional relationship that contributed to the lives of over 800,000 dancers, millions of viewers at home and the countless numbers of careers that were launched through the efforts of Frank and Ida Nise.
On Friday, Novmber 19, 2010, Frank Nise was posthumously inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
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