Gordon Smith 375

National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith has agreed to an extension that will keep him at the helm of the trade group through 2023. It’s a change of heart for Smith, 65, who told Inside Radio last October that he was likely stepping down after his term ended in 2019.

“We’re going to do this until the end of 2019 and then I’m done,” Smith said in our 2016 Q&A feature. “I think it’s smart for any organization to reshuffle its deck of cards every decade.”

Apparently that thinking has changed, as Smith will stay put for another four years past his planned exit date.

“Gordon Smith has shown a steady hand guiding America’s local radio and television stations through the public policy challenges of Washington,” NAB board chair, Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley said. “He has enormous credibility on Capitol Hill and at the FCC, and is a determined advocate for local broadcasting. We are thrilled that we will benefit from Gordon’s leadership into 2023.”

Smith, a former two-term U.S. Senator from Oregon (1996-2008), joined the NAB in 2009.

“I am grateful for the trust placed in me by the NAB Board with this new contract,” Smith added. “Broadcasting plays an indispensable role in the world of communications, and I’m committed to an innovation agenda that allows local TV and radio to thrive on emerging media platforms. I’m honored to lead a talented NAB team fighting for viewers and listeners who rely on hometown TV and radio for the best in entertainment, quality local news and lifeline programming in a crisis.”

A lawyer by trade, Smith earlier spent time running the family-owned Smith Frozen Foods business in Weston, OR, one of the largest frozen food companies in America.

During his Senate tenure, Smith’s committee assignments included the Senate Commerce Committee, the panel that oversees broadcast-related legislation. He also served on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

After leaving the Senate in 2008, Smith joined the law firm of Covington & Burling for 10 months before accepting an offer to head the NAB.