OK. Here’s the deal as far I know it from sources familiar with both the water-cooler talk and the at least some knowledge of the search firm lining up the candidates.
Former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt had been floated by more than one Washington watcher for the NAB presidency, a choice that seems so far out of left field that even the fans in those bleachers wouldn’t have seen it coming, though it has been talked about for a couple of weeks.
But that’s not likely going to happen, says someone who ought to know.
NAB is said to be talking to 10 or 12 candidates over the next week or so.
There are a couple of newer names said to be in the hat: Former NAB executive and top Verizon lobbyist Howard Woolley–described as “maybe the nicest guy in Washington”–and Len Kennedy, vet attorney with Sprint/Nextel. It’s possible they are just being floated by fans, but they are in the ether, as it were.
Former FCC Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy is another name that could be tossed in the hat, joining the triple X topper it would take to hold all the names so far surfacing from fans, sources with some knowledge of the process, or folks just looking to stir the pot. In addition to the aforementioned, those names include, Kurt Wimmer (a name to watch), Marty Franks (a name lots of people want NAB to watch), Jim May (another name to watch), Marcellus Alexander, John Orlando, Jim May, Dean Goodman, David Kennedy, and Andy Fisher. Steve Newberry is helping vet the candidates, but don’t count him out. Eddie Fritts was on the search committee, too.
The original plan was to try to get someone by Labor Day, but with 10 candidates still to interview, that is likely pushed back.
Whoever it is needs to be someone who can get their calls answered, can work the Hill, and can make the case for why broadcaster’s continue to warrant their swath of spectrum in a town where next generation wireless services appear to be the flavor of the month, and likely a whole lot longer.