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Steve Newberry Joins NAB

Former NAB Joint Board Chairman Steve Newberry has joined the broadcast association as Executive Vice President for Strategic Planning/Special Projects. Newberry, 55, has been a Washington-based communications consultant since 2015. He was chairman of NAB’s Joint Board of Directors from 2009 to 2011. He is the President and CEO of Glasgow, KY-based Commonwealth Broadcasting.

NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith said over a 20-year span, Newberry has been at the center of most of the major policy discussions that impact broadcasting, both as an owner and as an NAB Board member. “He will be a tremendous asset to NAB and our member stations as a full-time NAB employee.”

As EVP for Strategic Planning/Special Projects, Newberry will focus on multiple initiatives, including the construction of the new NAB headquarters in the Capitol Riverfront section of Washington. NAB expects to move into the new building in 2019.

Newberry began his broadcasting career at the age of 14 and became a station owner at the age of 21. Besides serving as NAB Joint Board chair and Radio Board chair, he was president of the Kentucky Broadcasters Association.

Vertical Bridge Appoints New VP of Broadcast Leasing

Vertical Bridge named Joe Meleski as their new VP of Broadcast Leasing.  In his new position, Meleski will focus on supporting Vertical Bridge’s growing presence in the broadcast industry.

Meleski brings more than two decades of broadcast experience to the company. He comes to Vertical Bridge from TV and FM antenna manufacturer Electronics Research Inc. (ERI), where he was most recently VP of U.S. Sales. Throughout his career, Meleski has also been directly involved with some of the largest broadcast tower and antenna projects in North America.

“We are thrilled to welcome Joe to our broadcast leasing team,” said Alex Gellman, CEO and co-Founder of Vertical Bridge. “His tenure and deep connections in the broadcast space, in addition to his unique combination of experience in sales, project management, and construction, will play an important role in helping us continue to expand our broadcast portfolio.”

New Chief Technology Officer to Advise FCC

Eric Burger is the new Chief Technology Officer at the FCC. He will advise the Chairman and the agency on technology and engineering issues, together with the Office of Engineering and Technology.

Noting that the Commission’s work is “at the crossroads of technology and policy,” Chairman Ajit Pai, who appointed Burger, said: “From stopping robocalls to facilitating the transition to next-generation networks, the FCC has important work to do for American consumers, and I’m grateful that we are adding such skill and experience to our team.”

Burger comes to the agency from the Security and Software Engineering Research Center in Washington, D.C., where he was the director. The center helps propose solutions to network problems like rural call completion, reducing the cost of deploying and operating communications networks, and ensuring communication network security and stability. Burger is expected to begin his new position this month; he replaces Henning Schulzrinne, who returned to Columbia University.

NTCA Ups Leif Oveson to VP Legislative Affairs

NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, which represents nearly 850 independent, community-based telecommunications providers, promoted Leif Oveson to vice president of legislative affairs.

Oveson has been at NTCA for eight years, most recently as government affairs director. In his new role, he will oversee the association’s strategic government relations initiatives and lobbying activities, working with members of Congress and their staff to promote the availability and affordability of broadband in rural America.

“A seasoned advocate and tremendous asset to NTCA, Leif knows our small business members and the challenges they face in delivering connectivity in rural America,” said NTCA CEO Shirley Bloomfield. “We are pleased to welcome him into this new role.”

WTA – Advocates for Rural Broadband Elects Officers, Board

WTA – Advocates for Rural Broadband, represents more than 340 small, rural telecommunications carriers providing voice, broadband and video-related services. WTA announced the election of its new officers for the coming two years: Jerry Piper, COO of Cambridge Telephone Company in Cambridge, ID as President; David Shipley, COO of USConnect, in Colorado City, CO as Vice President; Brad Veis, Director of Finance of 3 Rivers Communications in Fairfield, MT as Secretary-Treasurer; and Mark M. Gailey, President/GM of Totah Communications in Ochelata, OK as Past President.

Additionally, these members were elected to serve on the Executive Committee: Jack Keen, CEO of WNM Communications in Silver City, NM; Mark Feest, CEO of CC Communications in Fallon, NV; Robert DeBroux, Director of Regulatory Affairs at TDS Telecom in Madison, WI; Steve Hanson, CEO of Tenino Telephone Company in Tenino, WA; John Lundgren, Vice President of Volcano Telephone Co. in Pine Grove, CA; Darby McCarty, CEO of Smithville Communications in Ellettsville, IN; and Pat McElroy, CEO & GM of Northeast Nebraska Telephone in Jackson, NE. Continue Reading

Digital Bridge Appoints Jon DeLuca Managing Director and Operating Partner

Digital Bridge Holdings, LLC, a global communications infrastructure platform, today announced that Jon DeLuca has joined the leadership team as a Managing Director and Operating Partner.  DeLuca will be responsible for executing the firm’s investments in global fiber networks and businesses, leading a dedicated fiber team based at Digital Bridge’s office in New York.

“Jon is a veteran fiber investor and executive, and one of the most knowledgeable people I know when it comes to the integral role fiber plays in moving data globally,” said Marc Ganzi, Chief Executive Officer of Digital Bridge.  “We already have a strong pipeline of proprietary investment opportunities in fiber, and Jon is going to help us meet the growing demand for data creation, usage and storage.”

DeLuca most recently was a founder and served as President and CEO of Wilcon Holdings, LLC, a communications infrastructure provider focused on the fiber, small cell and data center markets. He played an integral role in the company’s growth and eventual sale to Crown Castle International Corp. earlier this year.

Michael Carowitz Named FCC Special Counsel

Michael Carowitz has been promoted, and named as the FCC’s Special Counsel this week. He joins the Chairman’s Office, following Nick Degani’s departure to become Acting General Counsel.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called Carowitz the “Swiss Army knife of the FCC,” because he’s had several leadership positions. “We have all come to rely on his sharp counsel.”

Carowitz was most recently Deputy Chief of the Enforcement Bureau, and was previously Acting Bureau Chief. From 2013 until January 2017, Carowitz was Deputy Chief of the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau. Prior to that, he spent seven years (2005-2012) as Associate Chief/Chief of Staff of the Commission’s Enforcement Bureau.


NAB’s Gordon Smith Signs Contract Extension

NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith agreed to a contract extension that will keep him in the position until March 31, 2023. Smith joined NAB in November 2009 and oversees the advocacy efforts of thousands of local radio and television stations. He is a former two-term United States Senator from Oregon (1996-2008) and ran the family-owned Smith Frozen Foods business in Weston, OR before starting his political career.

NAB Joint Board Chair Caroline Beasley made the announcement, saying Smith “has enormous credibility” both on Capitol Hill and at the FCC. He’s a “determined advocate for local broadcasting,” she added.

Dana Shaffer Named Deputy Chief of Wireless Bureau

Dana Shaffer has been promoted to deputy bureau chief and chief of staff of the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. She was most recently the Commission’s Deputy Managing Director.

The bureau develops and executes policies and procedures for fair licensing of all wireless services, ranging from fixed microwave links to broadband data services on mobile phones. It oversees nearly two million licenses, conducts auctions to award services licenses, and manages the tower registration process. Chairman Ajit Pai said Shaffer’s “keen insight into universal service issues will be invaluable” as the FCC prepares to launch a Mobility Fund II reverse auction to support deployment of 4G LTE mobile service and help bridge the digital divide.

Shaffer will work closely with Wireless Chief Donald Stockdale, with whom she worked in her previous position as Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau. She has held numerous other leadership positions at the agency, including Deputy Chief of the Enforcement Bureau and Deputy Chief of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau.

She joined the FCC in 2006 as Deputy Chief of the Wireline Bureau after a decade as vice president and regulatory counsel for NextLink, LLC (XO Communications). During that time, she was also President of both the Tennessee Telecommunications Association and the Southeastern Competitive Carriers Association.

Degani Named Acting FCC General Counsel

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai named Nicholas Degani as the agency’s Acting General Counsel. Degani will hold the position on an interim basis following Jennifer Tatel’s departure. Tatel, in turn, took over the job after Brendan Carr was confirmed as an FCC Commissioner.

Degani joined the Commission in 2007. During his decade at the Commission, he has been Senior Counsel to Chairman Pai and Wireline Legal Advisor to then-Commissioner Pai; been detailed to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce; and worked in the Wireline Competition Bureau and the Office of General Counsel.

The Office of General Counsel is the chief legal advisor to the Commission and its various bureaus and offices. The OGC also represents the Commission in litigation, assists the Commission in its decision-making capacity, and performs administrative legal functions.

Digicel Appoints New CEO for Anguilla

Digicel today announced the appointment of Kerchelle Jn Charles-Hodge as Chief Executive Officer for its Anguilla operations, effective August 2017. In this role, Kerchelle will have oversight for all operational and business excellence, while adopting a digital first strategy across the business.

A St. Lucian-national, Kerchelle brings over eleven years’ experience to this role, having joined Digicel in 2006 as a Marketing Executive for Digicel St. Lucia. Since then, her drive, passion and dedication have propelled her growth from an entry level position to CEO in just over a decade. Following an eight-month stint as part of launch team in The British Virgin Islands, Kerchelle was promoted to Marketing Manager in St. Lucia where she honed her skills for the next seven years. During this time, she also seconded in St. Kitts and Nevis as Head of Marketing and provided commercial support for the launch of 4G in Anguilla. In March 2014, she returned to Anguilla as Head of Commercial and played an integral role in the successful merger of Caribbean Cable Communications (CCC) with Digicel.


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