Las Vegas - The Association for Maximum Service Television is expected to name a new president within two to three weeks, says Gary Chapman, chairman for the digital TV trade group.
The leading candidates include David Donovan, lobbyist for the Association of Local Television Stations; Marilyn Morhrman-Gillis, general counsel for the Association of Public Television Stations; and David Goodfriend, mass media aide for FCC Commissioner Susan Ness.
"There are other candidates," Chapman said, noting that roughly 85 people applied to succeed the retiring Margita White.
The MSTV search committee interviewed candidates over the weekend in Las Vegas. MSTV is meeting in conjunction with the National Association of Broadcasters annual convention.
During MSTV's board meeting Sunday, Viacom/CBS Senior Vice President Martin Franks complained that the group's outside counsel Jonathan Blake has a potential conflict of interest because he also is representing the TV affiliates in an FCC petition accusing the networks of violating government rules governing relations with affiliates.
Franks said Blake's dual roles lead disputes over network/affiliate business relations to spill over to MSTV's effort to develop industry-wide consensus on technology-related issues. Franks would not comment Monday, but others attending the board meeting said that he did not call for Blake's dismissal. "I think Marty just wanted to get something off his chest," said one MSTV source.
CBS, along with NBC and Fox, have already exited NAB and industry players speculate that MSTV could suffer a similar loss of membership if the fight gets to bitter.
- Bill McConnell