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New NAB Leader Gordon Smith Lobbying FCC

Media ownership is main topic

Gordon Smith, who officially began working as president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters this week, has begun lobbying the Federal Communications Commission.

Smith, along with NAB Joint Board Chair Steve Newberry, (who is chief executive officer of Commonwealth Broadcasting) and NAB EVP and General Counsel Jane Mago met with Chairman Julius Genachowski and Media Bureau Chief Bill Lake.

Media ownership was the main thrust of discussion, according to an ex parte filing from NAB on the meeting. Senator Smith said the FCC’s ownership rules should enable broadcasters to hold “reasonable combinations of media properties” so that they can continue to provide programming to meet the needs of the communities they serve, according to the document filed with the commission. NAB has long supported relief from the TV duopoly rule and the elimination of the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule.

Smith also said the best way to increase ownership diversity is to improve access to capital. NAB has backed reinstatement of the minority tax certificate program, which was eliminated by Congress in the mid-1990s. The program provided tax deferrals on capital gains earned through the sale of media properties to minority buyers. Smith urged the agency to adopt such programs.