Marty Franks, CBS’ Top Lobbyist, to Retire

Helped turn retrans into lucrative revenue stream for TV nets

Marty Franks, CBS' top honcho in Washington for 25 years and one of broadcasting's most influential lobbyists, is retiring Sept. 30.

Helping CBS turn retransmission consent negotiations into a lucrative, nine-figure revenue stream tops Franks’ many credits. He also helped to repeal the Financial Interest and Syndication Rules that cleared the way for TV networks to own the programs they air and then syndicate them abroad, earning CBS more than $3 billion for CSI alone.

"The CBS we know today would not have been possible without Marty's contributions over the past 25 years," Les Moonves, CEO of CBS, wrote in a memo to CBS employees.

One of the great advocates of broadcasting in Washington, National Association of Broadcasters CEO Gordon Smith hailed Franks as "an unsung superstar. His wise Washington guidance helped broadcasters procure retransmission consent fees in the 1992 Cable Act; as Leslie Moonve's 'go-to guy' in New York, Marty has provided counsel and advice as solid as a Black Rock," Smith said.

Since 2000, Franks served as evp of planning, policy and government affairs. He joined CBS in 1988 as vp. For half of his CBS career, he worked hand in glove with Moonves, but he also worked for a string of big name CBS executives including Larry and Bob Tisch, Jay Kriegel, Howard Stringer, Peter Lund, Mike Jordan, and Mel Karmazin.

"Leslie called on me to play a supporting role in the incredible job he has done to build the new CBS, and for that and so much more, I will always be grateful," Franks wrote in a memo to CBS friends and colleagues. "It has been a great run."

A good bet to succeed Franks is John Orlando, CBS' svp in Washington.