National Association of Broadcasters president Gordon Smith said he had lost a good friend and broadcasters a great champion with the death of former Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.).
Smith is a former Republican senator from Oregon and served with Burns, who was also a former broadcaster.
"Conrad's deep appreciation for local broadcasting – based on his many years of service as a farm broadcaster in Montana – was evident on the Senate Commerce Committee," said Smith. "NAB and the farm broadcasting community will miss this common-sense lawmaker and man of good humor."
“As a founding Co-Chair of the Congressional E911 Caucus in 2003, Senator Conrad Burns was instrumental in raising awareness of 911 issues at the national level," said Next Generation 9-1-1 Institute Chair, Mary Boyd. " Not only was he successful in his pursuit of improving the 911 system, but he did it in a bipartisan manner, working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle with his unique style and sense of humor. We are saddened by the loss of Senator Burns, but we take great satisfaction in knowing that the foundation he created will continue on under the strong leadership of the NextGen 911 Caucus.”
Burns, who served three terms in the Senate, including as ranking member of the Senate Commerce Commitee, where he advocated for video franchise reform. He was a former cattle auctioneer and in 1975 founded the Northern Ag Network of stations. He is a member of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
The AP reported that Burns died April 28 at his home in Billings, Mont. He was 81.