Skip to main content

Robert Ross and Richard Friedel Earn NATAS Lifetime Achievement Awards

LAS VEGAS—SMPTE Fellows Robert Ross, senior vice president for East Coast operations at CBS Engineering, and Richard Friedel, executive vice president at FOX Engineering, will each receive the Lifetime Achievement Award in Technology from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) at the 69th Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards, April 8 in Las Vegas.

SMPTE—the organization whose standards work has long supported advances in entertainment technology—issues the annual award to technology companies and individuals "that have impacted the way people view television because of their industry-changing technological innovation and vision."


As the senior vice president for East Coast operations at CBS Broadcasting since October 1998, Robert Ross was responsible for converting the CBS broadcast center to HD, rebuilding and upgrading the CBS Network Media Distribution Center, and rebuilding the network’s satellite distribution system. He also created the Path Fire and Pitch Blue systems for domestic and international distribution, enabled the conversion from videotape to digital distribution for syndication, and spearheaded the redesign of the Ed Sullivan Theater for “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, ” as well as key production areas for CBS Sports, the “CBS Evening News,” and “CBS This Morning.”

For 19 years, Ross worked at Group W (Westinghouse Broadcasting Company) stations WBZ-TV, WJZ-TV, and KYW-TV, and was vice president of engineering for Group W prior to the CBS/Westinghouse merger. And he contributed to the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) and various SMPTE Engineering Committees. He is the past chair of the Toolkit working group of the Media Security and Reliability Council (MSRC), a FCC Advisory Committee, past president of the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA), as well as a SMPTE Fellow, a Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) member, and Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame inductee.

[Read: NABA Names Bob Ross President]


Richard Friedel oversees FOX Networks Engineering & Operations, the 21st Century Fox unit responsible for engineering, operations, and technology at FOX’s national and regional television businesses. He is also responsible for long-term technology strategy and day-to-day operations of the Fox Network Center in Los Angeles and Fox Houston Technical Operations Center, home of Fox Sports’ regional networks. He was also instrumental in launching the FOX News Channel and provides technical support for 14 regional production centers.

[Read: What Tom Said: About Richard Friedel]

Friedel’s previous positions include: Capital Cities/ABC, NBC News, and local television stations. He is a SMPTE Fellow, and member of the Audio Engineering Society (AES), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), SBE, and Society of Cable Television Engineers (SCTE). He serves as ATSC Board Chairman, president of the Video Services Forum (VSF), and NABA president. In 2015, he received the NAB Engineering Achievement Award.