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Former NAB president to receive NAB Distinguished Service Award

Eddie Fritts, former president and CEO of the NAB, will receive the NAB Distinguished Service Award during the 2011 NAB Show.

Fritts, who served as NAB president for 23 years, will be honored for his leadership in securing a variety of public policy victories that helped sustain broadcasting's future during an era of intense competition and unprecedented change. The award will be presented during the opening keynote session on April 11 in Las Vegas.

"For more than two decades, Eddie Fritts carried the banner for free and local broadcasting on Capitol Hill with integrity and distinction," said NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith.

NAB Joint Board Chairman Steve Newberry called Fritts "a remarkable leader and a relentless champion for over-the-air broadcasting.”

From his early roots as a small-market Mississippi radio broadcaster, Fritts became interested in Washington policy issues and was a frequent visitor to Capitol Hill and the FCC. He was elected to the NAB Radio Board and later elected NAB Joint Board chairman. As president and CEO of NAB from 1982 until 2006, Fritts led the association to a series of legislative and regulatory victories, including the must-carry/retransmission consent provision included in the 1992 Cable Act, securing loaned spectrum for the transition from analog to DTV and regulatory reform in the 1996 Communications Act that helped radio and TV stations grow their businesses.

After more than two decades at NAB, Fritts launched The Fritts Group in 2006 where he continues his work in Washington as a political consultant.