The National Association of Broadcasters board voted unanimously last week to elect Phil Lombardo, CEO of Citadel Communications, chairman of NAB’s joint board.
He succeeds Jim Yager, CEO of Barrington Broadcasting.
Mr. Lombardo, whose term runs through June 2005, steps into the NAB slot at a time when the industry is divided over NAB’s campaign to roll back the national TV ownership cap from 45 percent to 35 percent of the nation’s TV homes, re-regulation supported by NAB’s affiliate members but opposed by the major networks. The networks all have dropped their memberships over the past several years due to their dispute over the issue.
Board sources said they picked Mr. Lombardo because he’s a station owner and because he’s headquartered in Bronxville, N.Y., which is relatively close to Washington, D.C.
Sources also said Mr. Lombardo has demonstrated a knack for lobbying-primarily as an advocate of affiliate interests-and has time to use his skills for the industry’s benefit.
“There’s lots on our plate right now,” said Michael Fiorele, NAB TV board chairman and president/CEO of Dispatch Broadcast Group. “Phil has great leadership skills.”
Added Carl Gardner, NAB radio board chairman and president, radio, Journal Broadcast Group: “We were all impressed with Phil’s experience in the industry, his fair-mindedness and willingness to listen. We all agree he’s a man of action, and those qualities are what is called for on the NAB board at this time.”