NBC Universal rejoins NAB

The company is back on board after a seven-year hiatus.

After a seven-year break, NBC Universal announced it will rejoin the National Association of Broadcasters, the broadcast industry trade and lobby group.

The announcement, made at NAB2007 in Las Vegas, reinstates NBC Universal into NAB membership, along with the company's 10 NBC owned-and-operated television stations. In addition, Jay Ireland, president of the NBC Universal Television Stations and Network Operations, will be invited to fill a network television seat on the NAB Board of Directors.

NBC withdrew from the NAB in March 2000 over policy disagreements concerning deregulatory relief for the television industry and the role of the NAB in lobbying with respect to those issues.

But times, and issues, have changed. "The vast majority of the broadcast issues on the table today are ones where the network, the affiliates and the NAB have the same interests," said Rick Cotton, general counsel for NBC Universal. "After a positive meeting with the new leadership, we believe that the issues which led us to withdraw are behind us and unlikely to reassert themselves."