Gordon Smith won’t have to update his resume any time soon, as the current NAB president and CEO has signed a contract extension that will keep him in the position at least until March 31, 2023. Smith, who has been with NAB since November 2009, oversees the advocacy efforts on behalf of local radio and television stations across the U.S.
Prior to joining the NAB, Smith was an entrepreneur with his family’s business Smith Frozen Foods. He was then elected as a Republican to serve as a U.S. senator for Oregon for two terms between 1996 and 2008. His experience in the Senate included time as part of the Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees broadcast-related legislation, as well as the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; he also served as the chairman of a Senate High Tech Task Force. After leaving the Senate in 2008, Smith briefly joined the Covington & Burling LLP law firm before accepting the offer to head the NAB. He succeeded David Rehr.
The person who leads NAB is considered a key spokesperson for the U.S. commercial media industry and an influential lobbyist for its interests on the Hill. Smith has a reputation as a pragmatic, moderate Republican with friends on both sides of the political aisle. Issues on which he has been vocal include performance royalty rules, mental health issues and what he has described as radio and TV’s key role during emergencies as well as their “unparalleled reach.” He has led NAB during the period of the historic TV spectrum incentive auction, “Next Gen TV,” AM revitalization efforts and the current FCC’s mood of deregulation.
“Gordon Smith has shown a steady hand guiding America’s local radio and television stations through the public policy challenges of Washington,” said Caroline Beasley, CEO of Beasley Media Group and NAB Joint Board Chair, in the NAB’s official release. “He has enormous credibility on Capitol Hill and at the FCC, and is a determined advocate for local broadcasting.”
“I am grateful for the trust placed in me by the NAB Board with this new contract,” said Smith. “Broadcasting plays an indispensable role in the world of communications, and I’m committed to an innovation agenda that allows local TV and radio to thrive on emerging media platforms.”
Here is the list of NAB leaders over the years, as provided to Radio World by the association:
McDonald 1923-1925 (founding president)
Walter J Damm
J. T. Ward
Harold Ryan 1944-1945
T Wasilewski 1965-1982