For a veteran Beltway lobbyist like David Rehr, selling beer has to be a piece of cake compared to pitching multichannel must-carry to a group of politically sensitive legislators adverse to opening another can of worms. But that’s the task facing the 46-year-old economics whiz as he assumes the leadership of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) on December 5.
Rehr’s selection to replace Eddie Fritts, announced last week, places the former head of the National Beer Wholesalers Association on the firing line as congressional action looms next year on a stack of contentious broadcast issues including a revision of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.
Prior to his work with the beer industry, Rehr served as director of federal government relations for the National Federation of Independent Business and, until recently, was also a top contender to fill the CEO’s position in that organization.
Some 80 potential candidates were considered in the search for Fritts’ successor. Rehr’s selection comes with the endorsement of an NAB Presidential Search Committee chaired by Philip Lombardo, CEO of Citadel Communications, and David Kennedy, president and CEO, Susquehanna Media.