The new NAB president and CEO, former Sen. Gordon Smith, who represented his family’s home state of Oregon when he was in the Senate, actually grew up in Bethesda, Md., in suburban Washington, D.C.
He told reporters at The NAB Radio Show his favorite radio station was the former WEAM(AM).
Smith, one of 10 children, moved to Washington when he was 2 years old. His father was on Dwight E. Eisenhower’s presidential staff and his cousin Stuart Udall became secretary of the interior for John F. Kennedy.
He says he understands trade associations and the importance of their work; when his father left government, he worked at what was then the National Canning Association. Smith told us his wife now heads the family business, American Frozen Foods, which processes about 10% of the nation’s peas and corn.
Smith visited a number of radio stations when he was in Congress; he purchased political ads on those stations as well. He acknowledged voting to increase indecency fines for broadcasters, saying some 99 other Senators voted that way as well and back then, he was doing what his constituents wanted.
“My job now is to help broadcasters who do not favor indecency to deal with the legal ramifications of local community standards,” he said.
NAB Joint Board Chair Steve Newberry confirmed that Smith will have a three-year contract in his new role; there is an interim deal in place now.