The broadcast trade press is full today with the news that NAB CEO Gordon Smith will be stepping back from that position at the end of the year, to be replaced by current COO (and former head of Government Relations) Curtis LeGeyt. As many will remember, Smith took over the organization over a decade ago during a turbulent time for the industry. At the time, TV stations faced increasing calls for other uses of the broadcast spectrum, and radio stations faced a possible performance royalty on their over-the-air broadcasts of sound recordings. Since then, through all sorts of issues, there has been a general consensus in the industry that its leadership was in capable hands and meeting the issues as they arose.
But many issues remain for broadcasters – some of them ones that have never gone away completely. The sound recording performance royalty for over-the-air broadcasting remains an issue, as do other music licensing issues calling for changes to the way that songwriters and composers are compensated, generally calling for higher payments or different compensation systems (see our articles here on the GMR controversy and here on the review of music industry antitrust consent decrees). TV stations, while having gone through the incentive auction giving up significant parts of the TV broadcast spectrum, still face demands by wireless operators and others hungry for more spectrum to provide the many in-demand services necessary to meet the need for faster mobile services (see our articles here on C-Band redeployment and here on requests for a set aside of TV spectrum for unlicensed wireless users). But competition from digital services may well be the biggest current issue facing broadcasters.
Continue Reading With a Change at the Top at the NAB as CEO Gordon Smith Plans His Departure – What are the Regulatory Issues That are Facing Broadcasters?