NBC Universal is rejoining the National Association of Broadcasters after a seven-year absence.
The announcement was made Monday at the NAB convention in Las Vegas, with NBC TV Stations President Jay Ireland getting a shout-out at the session where the announcement was made. Rejoining the association along with the network are its 10 owned and operates stations. Ireland will joni the television board.
NBC and the other Big Four networks left the association after a bitter divide on the issue of the national station ownership cap. Networks wanted the FCC to loosen the rules to allow them to own more stations, while non-network owned members were concerned that would increase the network’s power unduly, including their bargaining position in affiliation contract negotiations.
The commission ultimately raised the cap to 45% of TV homes, though Congress cut that back to 39%.
ABC returned to the fold a couple of years ago, but CBS and Fox are still MIA.
NAB now claims four network members: ABC, NBC, Univision and Ion. NBC’s co-owned Telemundo was not part of the announcement, but NAB says talks are ongoing to bring it into the fold as well.
"We are pleased to rejoin NAB and help give the broadcast side of our business a powerful and united voice in Washington at a time of incredibly rapid change and numerous legislative challenges, Jeff Zucker, "NBC Universal president and CEO said in a statement. "It has never been more important for us to work together to ensure that television broaqdcasting remains a dynamic and competitive force.
NAB President David Rehr sent the following e-mail to board members Monday morning.
Sent: Mon Apr 16 10:19:06 2007
Subject: NBC becomes member of the NAB
I am writing to let you know that I will be announcing at approximately 9:30 am Las Vegas time that NBC has re-joined the NAB. As you know, it has been a priority of the Television Board and members of our executive committee to meet with network non-members to discuss how the broadcast business could be more unified. Several members of the Executive Committee have been involved in the effort, including TV Board Chairman Alan Frank, Second Vice-Chair Jack Sander, and Executive Committee member Preston Padden. TV Board member Michael Fiorile joined us in our efforts with NBC.
I will be using the All Industry Opening Session to make this announcement with the following comments during my presentation:
"Today, I am very pleased to announce that NBC has joined our association. I would like to thank NBC President & CEO Jeff Zucker, Executive Vice President and General Counsel Rick Cotton, and President of NBC's Television Stations and Network Operations, Jay Ireland. Jay is with us today, and Jay, I want to thank you for this commitment. We appreciate your support and confidence, and we look forward to working together on behalf of all broadcasters. Jay, please stand and be recognized."
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any additional questions. This news will give NAB2007 a tremendous lift and will send a very positive message to all broadcasters.