David Rehr, a beer-industry lobbyist with a doctorate in economics, was named president of the National Association of Broadcasters, the trade group announced Thursday afternoon in a statement released just moments after it scored a major digital-TV victory in the Senate Commerce Committee.
Rehr, who begins Dec. 5, replaces the highly regarded Edward Fritts, 64, who will continue as an NAB consultant through April 2008. Fritts became NAB president in 1982.
"I know that I have big shoes to fill, and I am anxious to hit the ground running. I look forward to continuing the great work of radio and television broadcasters on Capitol Hill and in the public arena,” Rehr, 46, said in a prepared statement.
The NAB made the Rehr announcement after the Senate Commerce Committee voted to kill an amendment by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that would have forced TV stations to surrender their analog spectrum April 7, 2007. The panel opted for April 7, 2009.
Rehr, president of the National Beer Wholesalers Association, signed a “multiyear agreement” with the NAB. An NAB search committee offered him the job after reviewing 80 potential candidates, including The Walt Disney Co. lobbyist Mitch Rose, a former aide to Senate Commerce Committee chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). Stevens aides indicated weeks ago that the senator was disappointed that Rose was not going to get the top job at the NAB.