2022 Samaritan Award

The Service to America Samaritan Award is given to a broadcaster or organization exemplifying the industry’s commitment to using the airwaves efficiently to promote the public interest.

José Andrés
Former President and CEO,
National Association of Broadcasters

Sen. Gordon H. Smith served as the president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) from November 2009 until his transition to special advisor at the end of 2021.

During his tenure, NAB played a pivotal role on a number of significant issues affecting broadcasters, including the broadcast television spectrum incentive auction, preservation and modernization of the music licensing and copyright system, the rollout of the ATSC 3.0 television standard (NEXTGEN TV), reviews of media ownership rules and the increased dominance of tech platforms in the advertising marketplace.

Sen. Smith also spearheaded several of public service initiatives to help keep America’s local communities safe, informed and connected. In 2013, Sen. Smith oversaw the launch of the OK2Talk campaign, an unprecedented effort to educate millions of Americans on the importance of ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. In 2020, under Sen. Smith’s leadership, NAB provided public service announcements to radio and TV stations to educate Americans on how to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Before joining NAB, Sen. Smith served as a two-term U.S. senator from Oregon. His committee assignments included the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, the panel that oversees all broadcast-related legislation. In addition, he served as chairman of a Senate High Tech Task Force, which helped foster his interest in new media and new technology issues.

Born in Pendleton, Ore., Sen. Smith attended college at Brigham Young University, received his law degree from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles and practiced law in New Mexico and Arizona before returning to Oregon to direct the family-owned Smith Frozen Foods in Weston, Ore. Before his election to the U.S. Senate in 1996, Sen. Smith was elected to the Oregon State Senate, rising to the position of president of that body after only three years.

Sen. Smith and his wife Sharon are the parents of three children and five grandchildren.

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