In a major career change, Steve Newberry is leaving his position as Executive VP for Industry Affairs and Strategic Planning at the National Association of Broadcasters to join global ad sync tech firm Quu, effective April 1. In an interview with Inside Radio, Newberry said he wasn’t looking to leave the trade group when he was approached by the Seattle-based tech company. “I love broadcasting and things that make broadcasters more connected to their audiences,” he said. “When I saw what Quu can do and the impact it can have for broadcasters, I realized this was where I could do the most good for the industry.”
Newberry has been overseeing multiple NAB projects, including its outreach and initiatives with the auto industry and construction of a new NAB headquarters. He will continue in his current role with the trade group until March 31 to ensure a smooth transition and completion of the official opening of the NAB’s new headquarters in the Capitol Riverfront section of Washington, closer to the action on Capitol Hill.
NAB Senior VP of Radio and TV April Carty-Sipp, highly regarded as the No. 2 exec in the Industry Affairs Department – which includes the Radio and TV departments, Education, and Membership – is said to be the leading candidate to succeed Newberry.
Founded by Joe Harb in 2007, Quu offers technology that enables radio stations to “take control” of the in-car dashboard display and put their visual look on par with streaming audio competitors. While services such as Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio and SiriusXM each have their own consistent visual display, Newberry says radio has shown inconsistency in that area.
In addition to displaying a consistent look for song title, artist and album art, Newberry says there are opportunities for “visual demonstrations” for advertisers as well as enhanced information about a talk show, a live sporting event and other programming. In addition to RDS and HD Radio, Quu’s tech works with Xperi’s forthcoming Connected Radio. It can also be integrated with platforms and devices outside the car, such as streaming audio players on smartphones and tablets.
Newberry, who will have an equity ownership position in the company, brings a host of industry relationships and business experience to Quu. “Among the attributes they were looking for that I brought to the table were not just business relationships but personal relationships with broadcasters and the ability to explain the vision and to drive the use of Quu,” he said. The company will also rely on him to get industry input on what feature sets they would like to see Quu adopt.
Newberry says he wasn’t interested in going to work for a company that sells equipment. “This is a company that, through Joe’s work, has created some incredible technologies that I think can change how we interact with our audiences and clients.”
He will be based in Washington, DC and remain in his role as Chairman of Glasgow, Kentucky-based Commonwealth Broadcasting.
Beasley Media Group is among the company’s investors.
Newberry joined the NAB in a fulltime capacity in October 2017. He’s also served as chair of the NAB’s joint Radio-TV board and has advocated for the industry on such issues as radio’s place in the connected car, activating FM chips on smartphones and efforts to impose a performance royalty on radio.
“Steve Newberry has been a tremendous asset to NAB and the entire broadcast industry for decades,” NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith said in a statement. “While we hate to see him leave, we’re delighted Steve will be with us through the completion of our move to a new headquarters this Spring.”
Along with helping to deliver advocacy and regulatory wins, Newberry says he’s most proud of his work in the NAB’s Industry Affairs Department to improve the value proposition for the services it offers members. Newberry has been at the forefront of NAB efforts to work with automakers. “I think we’ve accomplished some things that set the table for the radio industry to have a very long, healthy future in the automobile,” Newberry says. “The toughest part of this opportunity is leaving the privilege of working with Gordon Smith every day.”