D.C.’s Biggest Lobbyists Take Sides In Latest Retrans Consent Wars

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When it comes to affable and persuasive former politicians, there’s perhaps no better person to lead the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) than Gordon Smith.

A devout member of the LDS Church and Brigham Young University graduate, Smith has a career that includes stints as an attorney, frozen food executive, and as a U.S. Senator, entering the upper body of Congress in 1996. Since November 1, 2009, he’s been the President/CEO of the NAB, overseeing an organization dedicated to serving broadcast media’s interests across Capitol Hill.

Those interests include retransmission consent fees, a subject that is combative and one of extreme discontent among DirecTV subscribers in some 56 DMAs presently being prevented from viewing CBS programming. The reason? New retrans agreements between the DBS provider owned by AT&T and CBS Corp. and Nexstar Media Group, respectively, haven’t been signed. “Blackouts” are preventing, by law, subscribers to DirecTV, DirecTV NOW and U-Verse from seeing any CBS channel.

Smith on Tuesday said it is no one’s fault but that of the service provider, and not the broadcaster.

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