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MusicFirst Says New NAB Prez Was a ‘Champion’ of Artist Rights

McDowell also among those commenting

Reaction came Friday to news that former Sen. Gordon Smith has been named to head the NAB.

MusicFirst, the coalition of record labels, artists and others that has been in a vociferous battle with NAB over a music performance fee, issued a statement welcoming NAB’s new leader.

Executive Director Jennifer Bendall said: “During his years in the Senate he was a champion of the rights of artists and creators. We extend not only our congratulations but our invitation to Sen. Smith to work with the music community to create a radio performance right that is fair to artists and musicians, fair to other music platforms and fair to radio.”

A Republican, Smith, 57, represented Oregon for two terms in the Senate and served on the Commerce, Energy and Natural Resources, Finance, and Foreign Relations Committees. His role on the Commerce Committee and as chairman of a Senate High-Tech Task Force helped foster an interest in new media and new technology issues, according to the association.

FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell, a fellow member of the GOP, said he worked with Smith for several years on communications issues and describes the 58-year-old as “highly intelligent, thoughtful, principled” and as possessing a lot of integrity.

Smith, who at one time was an executive of family-owned Smith Frozen Foods, is an attorney and comes to the NAB from Covington & Burling on Nov. 1. He’s slated to appear before broadcasters at next week’s NAB Radio Show in Philadelphia.