The Rev. William F. Fore, Ph.D., a longtime advocate for open media and the public interest, died Thursday, July 30, 2020 in Dallas, TX. He was 92.
Bill was born on May 30, 1928 to parents Frank K. Fore and Billie C. Fore in Memphis, Texas. The family moved to California in 1933. He was a talented pianist and organist and performed at over 300 weddings. He was voted most popular, most likely to succeed, and student body president at Beverly Hills High School. Future wife Elizabeth Stauffer (Betty) was also voted most popular and they were high school sweethearts. They married in 1952.
Bill earned degrees from Occidental College, the American University in Cairo, Yale University Divinity School, and Columbia University. He was ordained in the United Methodist Church. William Romanowski, writing in his book Reforming Hollywood, noted that Dr. Fore "worked tirelessly throughout his career on behalf of the public interest and film and broadcasting."
For 25 years Bill was the Director of the Broadcasting and Film Commission of the National Council of Churches. Throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s, his unit produced more a hundred network programs annually. He negotiated with the Federal Communication Commission, members of Congress and the heads of the networks to improve the balance of news and information on TV and increase the amount of quality children's programming.
From 1972 to 1975 Bill served as Chair of the National Advisory Council of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, testifying on the behalf of the public interest and thus helped secure adequate funding for the PBS and NPR. He joined the United Church of Christ in a suit that required the FCC to give standing to all legitimate public interest groups. He secured interdenominational support for the famous WLBT suit in which the court revoked the station's license for failure to meet the needs and interests of its black listeners and viewers. He also participated in the landmark Red Lion decision, which required stations to provide all sides of issues of public importance.
In 1971, Bill co-founded The National Coalition Against Censorship, and served as chair for seventeen years. The Coalition continues to aid local libraries and other organizations facing censorship of books and films.
Bill served as President of the World Association for Christian Communication from 1982 to 1988. From 1984 to 1989 he taught communications at Yale Divinity School and in 1998 and 2001 he taught communication at United Theological College in Bangalore, India.
One of Bill's projects continues to this day. Seeing the need for quality books and articles for use in developing nations, he started Religion Online in 1997. Today www.religion-online.org
continues to attract more than a million visitors per year.
Bill is survived by his wife Betty, four children - Christine, Peter (Sharon), John (Toni), David (Jane) - and eight grandchildren. He was an inspiration and a joy to all who knew him with his bright intellect, deep wisdom, good humor, and moral focus.