NAB Names Gordon Smith President

The National Association of Broadcasters Friday (Sept. 18) named Gordon Smith, 57, a former two-term U.S. Senator from Oregon, as its new president and CEO. He succeeds David Rehr, who resigned in May.

Smith’s first industry appearance will be next week in Philadelphia, where he will address radio broadcasters during the NAB Radio Show. His first official day on the job will be Nov. 1. In mid-October, he’ll hold his first meeting with the NAB Board of Directors.

Most recently a senior advisor with Covington & Burling, Smith, a moderate Republican, served in the U.S. Senate from 1996 to 2008, where he sat on the Senate Commerce Committee, the panel that oversees all broadcast-related legislation. As a member of that Committee, he served as chairman of a Senate high tech task force, developing an expertise in new media and new technology issues.

With Smith’s background working with broadcast legislation, he should be able to hit the ground running. “Smith’s 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,” said Steve Newberry, NAB Joint Board Chairman.

“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.”

Smith was born in Pendleton, Ore. Prior to public office, he operated the family-owned Smith Frozen Foods business in Weston, Ore. He entered public office in 1992, serving in the Oregon State Senate.