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NAB’s Gordon Smith Gets Contract Extension

New deal keeps Smith at trade group through 2016

They like him. They really, really like him — Gordon Smith, that is.

Smith has inked a five-year deal to remain president and chief executive officer of the NAB. The agreement with the NAB board keeps the 59-year-old at the N Street headquarters through 2016.

The former U.S. senator from Oregon joined NAB in November 2009. He succeeded former National Beer Wholesalers executive David Rehr, who resigned as president and chief executive officer of NAB just after the spring show that year. Rehr, who joined NAB in 2005, succeeded Eddie Fritts, who was at the helm of NAB for more than two decades.

Smith held office for two terms in the U.S. Senate and was a member of the Commerce Committee during the debates over the revision and eventual passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. He was also a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He chaired a Senate High Tech Task Force that helped foster his interest in new media and new technology issues, according to the trade association.

After leaving the Senate in 2008, Smith joined the Covington & Burling law firm for 10 months before accepting the offer to head the NAB.

NAB Joint Board Chairman Paul Karpowicz said the NAB membership is happy to have Smith advocating for their interests in Washington. “Faced with two potential game-changing issues — the Performance Rights Act for radio and the spectrum bill for television — Gordon demonstrated uncommon grace, savvy and determination in preserving a bright future for broadcasting,” said Karpowicz, who’s also president of Meredith Corporation’s Local Media Group.