On May 29, longtime media and government relations executive Preston Padden took to Twitter to salute one of the nation’s most instrumental figures in the development and growth of low-power television (LPTV).
Mike Gravino formally retired, but likely not by choice. The vibrant spectrum rights advocate was entering Hospice, as his fight with pancreatic cancer had become one he couldn’t win.
On Saturday, Gravino’s battle concluded, with Amy Brown — former Executive Director of SpectrumEvolution.org and, before that, the Community Broadcasters Association — sharing the news of his passing via LinkedIn.
While Padden used Twitter to laud Gravino for his sometimes brash honesty in his pleadings before the FCC, Republican Commissioner Mike O’Rielly took to the social media platform to congratulate Gravino “for making a big difference.” O’Rielly noted, “I didn’t always agree with Mike — maybe half the time. But, he proved to be a powerful force for the LPTV community.”
In a note to RBR+TVBR, Cable Ad Net New York President/GM Dan Viles cites Gravino for “singlehandedly moving LPTV into the broadcasting mainstream. We owe him so much.”
With a Bachelors’ of Fine Arts in Design Science from the University of Oregon, Gravino became widely known in June 2013 with the formation of the LPTV Spectrum Rights Coalition, which officially folded in May 2019 by becoming the Next Gen TV Coalition. While serving as the Director of the organization, Gravino in March 2018 founded the largest brokerage dedicated to LPTVs, Airwaves USA.
Extensive coverage of Gravino’s activities over the last seven years can be found across the RBR+TVBR archives.
Much of Gravino’s work in Washington, D.C., fell in tandem with advocacy and initiatives conducted by the National Translator Association (NTA). Its President, John Terrill, recalls Gravino as “an effective spokesman” for LPTV stations.
“This one man gave so much for so many for years and we are better for it,” Terrill said. “The NTA will continue to speak for Translators and LPTV stations with deep respect for Mike Gravino’s legacy.”