Philip J. Lombardo, Citadel Communications CEO And Chairman Emeritus Of Broadcasters Foundation, Dies At 88

Broadcasters Foundation establishes the Philip J. Lombardo Memorial Fund in his honor.

Philip J. Lombardo, CEO of Citadel Communications and chairman emeritus of the Broadcasters Foundation of America, died Friday following a brief illness. He was 88.

“Last night, the Broadcasters Foundation and the broadcast industry lost a great man,” said Scott Herman, chairman of the Broadcasters Foundation. “As chairman of the Broadcasters Foundation for many years, Phil left an indelible mark. He was passionate about our mission and one of our biggest donors, giving both time and money to helping colleagues in need.”

“It would be impossible for me to quantify all that I learned from Phil Lombardo over the course of our nearly 40-year association,” said Ray Cole, president and COO, Citadel Communications. “Phil was a boss, a mentor, and a partner. Most of all, he was a dear friend who changed my life in immeasurable ways. While his impact on the broadcasting industry was vast and deep, Phil’s enduring legacy will be the vision and passion with which he led the Broadcasters Foundation of America. His contributions to its mission — helping fellow broadcasters in need — had no bounds. That commitment is sure to live on forever.”

NAB President-CEO Curtis LeGeyt said in a statement: “Phil Lombardo was a pioneer in the broadcasting industry; his contributions were immense and his influence widespread. His passion for broadcasting set a standard that will continue to inspire generations to come.

“Phil’s leadership extended beyond his business achievements. His service as NAB joint board chair helped shape the future of our association and left an indelible mark on our industry. But his legacy will certainly be his work to help broadcasters in their times of greatest need, through the Broadcasters Foundation of America (BFOA). I had the privilege of serving with him on the BFOA board and witnessing firsthand his unwavering dedication to the men and women of the broadcast industry, giving back to those who have given so much to our communities across the country.

“We extend our deepest condolences to Phil’s family, friends and colleagues during this difficult time. His legacy will live on, and he will be deeply missed.”


Lombardo’s impactful role as Broadcasters Foundation chairman from 2000 to 2015 was vital to the foundation’s ability to increase the amount of grants awarded annually to broadcasters in need from just over $60,000 in 2000 to nearly $2 million in recent years.

“Phil had a strong personality, but his heart was bigger,” added Tim McCarthy, president of the  foundation. “No one worked harder than Phil to raise money from our biggest donors. He gave more than anyone in our industry to colleagues who need it most.”

The family has requested that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Philip J. Lombardo Memorial Fund, which will be established by the Broadcasters Foundation next week in honor of Lombardo’s dedication and service to the broadcasting industry and to the foundation’s charitable cause.

To honor his longstanding dedication to the Broadcasters Foundation, in 2000 the board passed a near unanimous vote to rename the annual golf tournament and fundraiser, held during the NAB Show in Las Vegas, to the Philip J. Lombardo Charity Golf Tournament. The one “no” vote was cast by Lombardo.

Lombardo always knew he wanted to go into broadcasting. Growing up in a neighborhood on Chicago’s near north side, radio was his companion. He began his career at WBBM-TV in Chicago as a production assistant and quickly rose to executive levels, earning a reputation for being a ‘turnaround’ manager.

The majority of Lombardo’s storied career was focused on buying, turning around, and selling TV stations for his privately held company, Citadel Communications. In 2003, Lombardo was elected to serve as joint board chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters. He was inducted into the Broadcasting + Cable Hall of Fame in October 2015.

The Broadcasters Foundation has distributed more than $15 million dollars in aid over the past 20 years. This year, the foundation will award approximately $1.8 million. More information about the Broadcasters Foundation, including how to make a donation or apply for aid, is available at, 212-373-8250, or

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OldSchool says:

January 5, 2024 at 5:12 pm

Phil was one of a kind… He was tough on the outside but had a soft and compassionate heart. We lost a good one. RIP Phil and thank you…..

Coastalconsultant says:

January 6, 2024 at 5:09 pm

Phil was a great guy and will be missed – condolences to his family and his Broadcast family.