National Association of Broadcasters CEO Gordon Smith offered a healthy plate of red meat to his constituents today as he urged officials to ensure that TV and radio have the same kinds of regulatory protections often provided for broadband and other media. “On one hand, government can treat us as if we are dinosaurs and does what it can to encourage TV stations to go out of business,” he told broadcasters at the kickoff of the annual NAB Show in Las Vegas. “On the other hand, the FCC says we are so important and powerful that two TV stations can’t share advertising in the same market, while it’s OK for multiple cable, satellite and telecommunications operators to do so. Which is it? Too powerful or irrelevant? It can’t be both.” He says it’s only fair to develop coordinated policies to give the industry as much support as the government offers for cable and wireless providers. ”Why doesn’t the FCC have a National Broadcast Plan?” he says.“Why is there no focus to foster innovation and investment in broadcasting to ensure our business continues to be a world leader alongside our broadband industries? Where is the FCC’s gusto and determination to embrace broadcasting’s values and public service responsibilities?”
The FCC is hearing both views this week following Chairman Tom Wheeler‘s recent proposal to restrict local TV joint service arrangements. National Association of Broadcasters CEO Gordon Smith came out swinging with a charge that the regulators are making it hard for broadcasters to promote localism and diversity — objectives called for in the Communications Act — according to notes publicly filed today of his visit yesterday with Commissioner Mignon Clyburn. He says that Wheeler lacks solid evidence and “makes sweeping generalizations” that are “arbitrary and capricious” about the problems that arise when a station handles ad sales, programming, or retransmission consent negotiations for a rival in the same market. These collaborations “greatly foster localism and diversity,” Smith says. He says that Wheeler’s proposals “use a sledgehammer where a scalpel, if anything, is far more appropriate.” Smith also called it “manifestly unfair” to bar TV stations from collaborating when it “permits the cable industry to do so.” All in all, the NAB chief says, the FCC is “not doing everything it could to actually promote localism and diversity.”
Others are pressing regulators to hang tough. There’s already “ample record evidence” showing that station collaborations hurt the public, Andrew Jay Schwartzman and Angela Campbell of Georgetown Law School said in their visit with Clyburn yesterday. “If particular arrangements would serve the public interest … the Commission can and should craft …
NAB chief Gordon Smith told station owners today that they must redouble their efforts to persuade tech companies to build TV and radio receivers into smartphones and other mobile devices. Internet streaming services “will never have what we have — the ability to deliver our high quality content reliably,” Smith said in his keynote speech at the NAB confab in Las Vegas. But he adds that broadcasters who want to beam signals directly to mobile devices ”must continue to rise up to meet consumer’s desire for more live, local TV content.” He added that stations should “seriously consider the challenges and opportunities of moving to a new standard” that would enable them to “compete in a mobile world, and find new revenue streams.” Hurricane Sandy helped to make a case for adding radio to mobile devices. “Up and down the Eastern seaboard, we heard stories of cell networks and broadband connections being down for days, even weeks. But radio was always on.” Even so, Smith says that radio stations “can’t take their place in the [automobile] dashboard for granted. We must continue to innovate and provide the content listeners want on many different platforms.”
National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith told the industry crowd at the NAB Show in Las Vegas today to beware of broadcasters’ wireless rivals while touting the lobbying group’s legislative victories over the past year. Smith, giving the State of the Industry address this morning, warned that telecommunications companies who have been grabbing spectrum for mobile TV services will be seeking more. “They want us out of this game,” he said in his prepared remarks. “We can’t let down our guard.” In another major part of Smith’s keynote, he cited NAB’s efforts to help knock down the Performance Rights Act and shape spectrum laws that benefited broadcasters, calling the wins “game-changers” that “elevated the stature of NAB in Washington.” Said Smith: “We averted a spectrum grab from misguided friends who would have you believe that broadcasting is yesterday’s technology.”
WASHINGTON, DC — Gordon H. Smith, President and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters, has agreed to a five-year contract extension that keeps him at the helm of NAB through 2016, NAB Joint Board Chairman Paul Karpowicz announced today.
Smith, 59, joined NAB in November 2009 and oversees the advocacy efforts of thousands of local radio and television stations across America. He is a former two-term United States Senator from Oregon (1996-2008) and was a successful entrepreneur before launching his career in politics.