Telecom, Media Groups Produce Millionaires


WASHINGTON -Executives of telecom and media companies aren't the only ones pulling down huge salaries. The heads of the associations that represent those industries here are also doing quite well, according to tax forms the nonprofit organizations file annually with the Internal Revenue Service.

In fact, several telecom and media association executives received more than $1 million in compensation and benefits in fiscal year 1999, the latest year for which information was available as of last week.

Thomas Wheeler, a former cable lobbyist and CEO of the Cellular Telephone Industry Association, tops the list. Wheeler's CTIA pay for 1999 was $846,140-plus $387,994 in benefits-for a total of $1.23 million.

Next in line was United States Telecom Association President Roy Neel, at $1.21 million, including $559,600 in compensation and $654,300 in benefits. The USTA represents major local telephone companies. Neel is the only association chief who received more in benefits than compensation.

A close friend and former aide of Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore, Neel has been on an unpaid leave of absence to help the vice president plan a possible administration.

Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America, made $1.12 million in 1999, up 5 percent from his 1998 pay. The veteran lobbyist and top White House aide to Lyndon Johnson has been among the best-paid association executives here for many years. But competitors appear to be catching up.

National Journal, a Washington politics and policy weekly that surveys the salaries of association executives, had ranked Valenti No. 1 every year until 1997. Valenti ranks fourth in the latest survey of 1998 salaries.

Although the National Cable Television Association's IRS filing was unavailable last week, Multichannel News
previously reported that president Robert Sachs signed a three-year deal at $850,000 per year to replace Decker Anstrom in July 1999. That deal provided for increases based on his and the industry's performance.

National Journal's survey put Anstrom's 1998 salary at $812,595.

Details of National Association of Broadcasters president Edward O. Fritts' 1999 compensation package will not be available until the end of December, due to an extension filed with the IRS. National Journal's survey put Fritts's 1998 compensation, exclusive of benefits, at $700,008.

Personal Communications Industry Association (PCIA) President Jay Kitchen received $422,519 in salary and $60,000 in benefits in 1999. Kitchen has been president of PCIA since 1994, when it merged with the National Association of Business and Educational Radio. He had held the latter group's top position.

PCIA represents the mobile communications industry-wireless, radio and data-and concentrates on spectrum-management issues.

States News Service