05.05.2005 02:03 PM
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Fritts raises concerns, reviews accomplishments during farewell

NAB President and CEO Edward Fritts takes his place at the helm of the broadcast armada for the last time at NAB2005.

Four important issues appear on the horizon for broadcasters, including a rewrite of the Telecommunications Act, outgoing NAB President Edward Fritts told an audience of broadcasters during his All Industry Opening remarks April 18 at NAB2005 in Las Vegas.

The other critical pending issues, in Fritts’ view, include: the final steps in the digital television transition, radio's transition to HD digital radio, and the indecency issue.

Fritts, who used the occasion to bid farewell to an industry he has helped to lead as CEO and president of the NAB for 23 years, reminded his audience that the changes in leadership of important Congressional committees and the FCC’s transition creates a degree of uncertainty in the near term. While hammering out a new Telecommunications Act may take months or even years, he said, “make no mistake, the stakes are high.” Turning his attention to the digital television transition, Fritts reminded broadcasters that they have done their part – with nearly 1500 TV stations broadcasting a digital signal - but that pressure in Congress for a premature analog switch off is a threat.

Broadcast indecency is another looming issue – one that’s better left to industry self-policing than government regulation, Fritts said.

Looking back on his tenure, Fritts recalled his first NAB convention where Senator Bob Packwood, head of the Senate Commerce Committee, told broadcasters “The NAB can't lobby its way out of a paper bag!"

According to Fritts, that’s no longer the case. Working with individual broadcasters and state broadcast associations to build grassroots strength has bolstered the NAB’s position in Washington and contributed to fostering a free, over-the-air broadcasting industry that “is the envy of the world.”

To read the speech in its entirety, visit www.nabshow.com/press/nab2005_eddiefritts_speech.htm.

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