CBS, Fox Return to NAB

Posted May 10, 2010 at 3:51pm

The National Association of Broadcasters has wooed back CBS Corp. and Fox Broadcasting as members after losing some of the biggest-name TV networks 10 years ago in a fight over network-ownership rules.

The networks’ decision to return to the NAB comes nearly eight months after former Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) was brought on to replace David Rehr as president and CEO of the trade group.

“Today is a great day for broadcasting, for NAB, and for the tens of millions of Americans who rely every day on CBS, FOX and other broadcast programming for highly-valued content,” Smith said in a statement. “Both CBS and FOX currently have superb advocacy arms in Washington.”

“We are delighted by their vote of confidence in the NAB team, and we look forward to presenting a seamless display of broadcast unity inside the Beltway. Our challenges are many, but the mission of free and local broadcasting remains a worthy cause,” he added.

To seal the reunion, Jack Abernethy, CEO of Fox Television Stations, and Martin Franks, executive vice president for planning, policy and government affairs at CBS, will serve on the NAB board of directors.

CBS’s 29 television stations and 130 radio stations were brought back into the fold, as well as the 27 owned-and-operated Fox Television stations and the MyNetworkTV programming service.

NBC Universal and Disney-owned ABC had also left the NAB a decade ago. NBC rejoined in 2007 and Disney in 2005.