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MSTV votes to disband

With its interests typically coinciding with those of the NAB, which shares many of the same members, the Association of Maximum Service Television (MSTV)’s board of directors has voted to merge with the NAB and cease operations. The move was apparently done in an effort to save cost and eliminate redundant educational and lobbying efforts. It’s estimated that about 90 percent of MSTV members were also members of NAB.

Made up of highly technical executives and working engineers, MSTV has lobbied Capitol Hill on behalf of broadcasters since the early days of TV broadcasting, helping to usher in color TV and later the transition to DTV for American viewers, among other key industry initiatives. Current MSTV President David Donovan has been a staunch defender of limiting unlicensed devices from operating in the white spaces of broadcast spectrum. His bid has been largely unsuccessful, however. The FCC has granted nine companies, including Google, the opportunity to manage databases that will coordinate the usage of white spaces for high-speed wireless broadband networking.

MSTV represented more than 400 local TV stations, while the NAB has around 7500 TV, radio and network members. TV executives serving on both boards included Martin Franks, executive vice president of planning and policy for CBS; and TV chief executives Paul McTear of Raycom, Dunia Shive of Belo, Brandon Burgess of ION Media and Alan Frank of Post-Newsweek Stations.

In a statement, the NAB said the MSTV’s legacy would be continued under the leadership of NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith. It said the merger “complements the NAB board’s strategic direction to elevate technology issues within the organization, with the goal of ensuring a bright future for broadcasting in an increasingly technological and complex digital media world.”