Confirming a report in yesterday B&C online edition Wednesday, the National Association of Broadcasters made the announcement Thursday that it had made its selection of National Beer Wholesalers Association President David K. Rehr as its new president.
NAB said it had vetted 80 candidates. Rehr has signed a multi-year deal and will take over Dec. 5. Fritts remains a consultant through April 2008.
"We conducted an exhaustive search to locate the absolute best person we could find to retain NAB's leadership as one of the preeminent trade associations in Washington," said Joint Board Chairman Phil Lombardo. "David Rehr fits that description in every way."
"To pull together all the disparate elements on the NAB Board was a herculean task.
Phil Lombardo deserves great credit for his patience, his determination and his leadership," said longtime NAB member and former public affairs chairman, William O'Shaughnessy, Chairman of Whitney Radio.
Rehr is the kind of Republican, K-Street connected lobbyist that GOP leadership had been pushing to fill association vacancies, suggesting that the party's influence in the town was not reflected in the leadership of the lobbies that needed to work with them. He is also described as energetic and a good fundraiser.
Rehr has been with the beer association since 2000, and in the mid-1990s he was named one of the town's top lobbyists. He will be trying to fill the shoes of another top lobbyist. Fritts helped take the group from one that a legislator famously referred to as unable to "lobby its way out of a paper bag" to one of the most effective in town, scoring another victory Thursday when an amendment was defeated that would have moved up the date for giving back analog spectrum from 2009 to 2007.
The NAB now faces one of its biggest fights as it tries to secure mandatory cable carriage of its multicast digital signals. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) supports giving broadcasters that carriage, while House Commerce Chairman Joe Barton (R-Tex.) does not.