Fritts Bids Adieu at NAB2005

Veteran NAB chief hosts his last big show in Las Vegas

Reports that the NAB couldn't lobby itself out of a paper bag have turned out to be erroneous. That was former Sen. Bob Packwood's assessment of the NAB in 1982, the year Eddie Fritts became president and CEO of the association.

"I took that as a personal challenge," Fritts said in his final opening address as chief executive. He announced in February he would step down when his contract ends next April.

Fritts is credited by many with making NAB a driving force in Washington, D.C. He was instrumental in obtaining satellite and cable carriage, eight-year license terms and digital transition spectrum.

"He deserves the thanks of every TV and radio broadcaster for his many victories on Capitol Hill, at the FCC and in the courts," said Phil Lombardo, NAB board chairman.

In his farewell address, Fritts said the NAB's work was far from done, with the DTV deadline, the digital radio transition, indecency legislation and the telecom rewrite on the horizon.

"These will not be easy fights," he said, urging broadcasters to "speak with one voice," to legislators.

Fritts also told broadcasters to get on-board with new technologies and to recognize the potential of extending local content beyond the TV set.

©2005 NAB