NAB Appoints Gordon Smith to Top Spot

WASHINGTON: Former Oregon Senator Gordon Smith has been named president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters. He will deliver remarks next week at the NAB Radio Show in Philadelphia, meet with the NAB board in Dallas in mid-October and begin his official tenure Nov. 1.

The 57-year-old Republican served in the Senate from 1996 to 2008. His committee assignments included. the Senate Commerce Committee, the panel that oversees all broadcast-related legislation. Smith also served on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Smith was chairman of a Senate High Tech Task Force, which “helped foster his interest in new media and new technology issues,” the NAB said.

“I am honored to have been selected as NAB’s new president and consider this an opportunity of a lifetime,” said Smith. “As radio and television stations embrace new technologies and new business opportunities, I look forward to articulating to public policymakers the unique and positive role played by local and network broadcasters in the fabric of American society.”

NAB Joint Board Chairman Steve Newberry: “We conducted an exhaustive search to identify the very best individual to lead a great trade association. We’re convinced we have found that person in Gordon Smith. His background as a lawyer, a statesman, and as an entrepreneur--coupled with his extensive knowledge of broadcast issues from having served many years on the Commerce Committee--make Gordon eminently qualified to represent the interests of free and local broadcasters in Washington.”

From the NAB’s boilerplate on Smith: He was born in Pendleton, Ore. He attended Brigham Young University, received his law degree from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles, and practiced law in New Mexico and Arizona before returning to Oregon to direct the family-owned Smith Frozen Foods business in Weston.. Smith Frozen Foods is now a $50 million-a-year enterprise, and one of the largest frozen foods companies in America. Before serving in the U.S. Senate, Smith was elected to the Oregon State Senate, rising to the position of president of that body after only three years.

He and his wife Sharon are the parents of two children and have one grandchild.

Smith replaces David Rehr, who left the position abruptly in early May after heading up the lobby for three years.

More on the NAB leadership odyssey:
May 6, 2009: “Rehr Exits NAB”
Rehr took the reins of the NAB more than three years ago when the venerable Eddie Fritts retired after nearly 23 years. Rehr, a tea-totaling Tab drinker, came to the NAB in 2005 from the National Beer Wholesalers Association.