Fritts Farewell in Philly


Eddie Fritts took a bow at the NAB Radio show in Philadelphia.

Like the old pro that he is, the outgoing NAB president turned the spotlight from himself to the industry whose interests he has helped advance.

He thanked Gulf Coast broadcasters who stayed on the air "against all odds," and pointed out that "Unfortunately, it sometimes takes an act of God to remind our critics of the importance of broadcasting. And nowhere has the power of radio been more apparent than in the response of our stations to Hurricane Katrina."

In his brief opening remarks to the convention, Fritts touched on his own tenure and the much-repeated observation of a certain senator on NAB's  prowess: "When I was elected NAB president, then-Senate Commerce Chairman Bob Packwood came to the NAB Convention in Las Vegas and announced from the podium - and I quote - 'NAB can't lobby its way out of a paper bag.' Through years of hard work, we have turned that perception around."

NAB is now generally considered one of the most powerful and effective lobbies in a town teeming with them.

No word yet on when NAB will announce his successor, which is still expected to be beer lobbyist David Rehr.


The Fritts Years

After an awesome 23-year run, NAB chief Eddie Fritts is about to step down. His record is awesome—but not flawless. He helped the industry shed onerous rules limiting the size and power of radio- and TV-station owners. At the end, however, he couldn't repair fissures that have divided broadcasters in fundamental ways.