Gordon Smith reups with NAB


Gordon SmithThe National Association of Broadcasters has inked a contract extension with President/CEO Gordon Smith that will keep him at the helm of the organization for five more years. Members cite his steady hand during debate over performance rights and incentive spectrum auctions as more than enough reason to celebrate his decision to stay on the job.

Smith was once a Republican senator from Oregon, and has been with the NAB since November 2009.

“NAB membership is happy to have Gordon Smith navigating our interests in Washington, and we’re delighted that he’s agreed to this contract extension,” said Karpowicz, president of Meredith Corporation’s Local Media Group. “Faced with two potential game-changing issues – the Performance Rights Act for radio and the spectrum bill for television — Gordon demonstrated uncommon grace, savvy and determination in preserving a bright future for broadcasting.”

“I’m thrilled by the vote of confidence by the NAB Board and membership,” said Smith. “As president of NAB, I get a first-hand view of the indispensable role that local and network broadcasters play in serving communities every day with news, entertainment and life-saving weather warnings. Broadcasters take seriously our role as stewards of the airwaves, and it is a privilege to represent a diverse membership with a vibrant future.”

RBR-TVBR observation: Smith was known for his ability to work across the aisle during his days in the Senate, and that ability continues to be very much in evidence. And we have to say that although we’ve heard his tactics questioned from time to time, it is just about impossible to question his results.

The performance rights debate is a particular example. Radio broadcasters feel they have truth on their side – that the quid pro quo with the recording industry – content for promotion – is fair to both sides without need for any further exchange of consideration.

Many were fiercely opposed when Smith deigned to even discuss the topic of a performance royalty with the recording industry. But faced with big record companies looking for revenue anywhere and everywhere, and a contingent of legislators who didn’t understand the existing quid pro quo, Smith did some horse trading.

The end result was a deal that just couldn’t get done, loss of interest in the matter on Capitol Hill, and status quo on the quid pro quo. And through it all, Smith’s willingness to talk actually improved the NAB’s Capitol Hill image – a feat that will help the association out during all future Hill dealings.

Bottom line: We think that NAB has found somebody worthy to succeed Eddie Fritts to guide the industry through the labyrinthine halls of Congress.