LPTV Advocate, Coalition Director Mike Gravino Dies


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.”


  1. Mike was always ahead of the game. He would come up with so many ideas to help the LPTV/ TV Translator communities and presented them to the Commission. He will be missed by everybody. My condolences to his family.

  2. Mike’s boundless energy and enthusiasm went a long way toward making sure that the FCC kept LPTV in focus when it took various regulatory actions. The industry will be poorer without him. I enjoyed trying to help and support him and will very much miss him.

  3. I am sure that the entire LPTV industry will sorely miss Mike, who did so much for us all.
    (I never said this, or anything, before)

  4. Mike was a visionary who truly believed in the value and impact of LPTV. He was a friend and an industry ally and we will miss him so much. Our condolences to his family.

  5. Mike lived near Eastern Market in Southeast Washington, D.C. From there it was about a thirty minute run to the House Rayburn or Russell Senate Office Buildings. I used to joke that Legislative Assistants had a signaling method, so that when he was seen coming down the hallway, they could hide under their desks or give the receptionist a reason why they were not there.

    To say that he was dogged would be to highly compliment our canine friends. Many found him abrasive, and said so. But they should ask themselves now: if a person is unknown and invisible, can they have an influence? Be effective?

    Mike’s accomplishments were significant. With an e-mail newsletter, meetings at the NAB conventions, and informative brochures, he generously shared updates for all who might be interested in Low Power Television. He never forgot the TV Translators and Rural America. I’m writing this next to his baseball cap with the slogan SAVE LPTV and in smaller type “& TV Translators.” His advocacy on the Hill worked in tandem with his staff encounters at the Federal Communications Commission. The D.C. presence was not lucrative, but often effective, a rare instance of lobbying for a positive public purpose. His push in Congress was key to securing reimbursement funds for LPTV and TV Translators being displaced in spectrum re-packing.

    Now Mike is wandering the Golden Hills. He will not see many Members of Congress or Legislative Assistants there. For the most part they are consigned to the Other Place. But should he run into the shade of an exemplary L.A., may he be granted one more opportunity to unleash his version of an uninhibited charm offensive.

    — Michael Couzens

  6. I liked Mike Gravino. He was an effective spokesman from LPTV sta- tions, creating the LPTV Spectrum Rights Coalition, and and an in- vestor in LPTV Stations. This one man gave so much for so many for years and we are better for it. In Washington, D.C. he was in touch with the FCC and with other branches of government and never missed a chance to let everyone know “what was up.” His dedication to the cause earned respect from many, whether they agreed with him or not.
    The National Translator Association often found ourselves working with Mike for the same outcome on many causes and we miss his pres- ence and dedication now.
    The NTA will continue to speak for Translators and LPTV stations with deep respect for Mike Gravino ’s legacy.
    John Terrill
    National Translator Association

  7. I could always call on Mike anytime and he would always take the time to talk to me and give me advice. He was supportive and considerate. His strength was key to keep me motivated when times got tough. I felt that there was voice in DC who was fighting for our business. The professionalism and kindness is what I will miss the most. It means now we all need to step up and pick up the flag.

  8. En agradecimiento a Gravino , , debemoas actuar rapidamente , para , orgarnizarnos y mantenener elegado de su trabajo . AQuellas personas que lo colaboraron con el deben tomar la iniciativa y seguuir luchando y mantenener la comunicacion , con la FCC.

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