RAB’s current head Erica Farber, saluted Fries who spent his entire career in broadcasting. “He spearheaded radio to the forefront in media accountability, playing a dominant role in the development of RAEL working with advertisers, agencies and broadcasters to further the industry’s understanding of how radio advertising works.”
Gary Fries, the former Radio Advertising Bureau president and CEO, has died.
Fries was appointed president and CEO of the RAB in 1991and held numerous positions in the radio industry including president of Unistar Radio Networks and Transtar Radio Networks; president and COO of Sunbelt Communications’ Radio Division; and VP at both ITC Communications and Multimedia Broadcasting, Inc.
He began his career in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he worked as a part-time salesperson at Stuart Broadcasting’s KFOR Radio while in college. By the time he was 24, he landed his first management position at KRGI, Grand Island, Nebraska.
Fries was named one of Radio Ink Magazine’s Top 40 Most Powerful People in Radio numerous times, and was recognized as Radio Executive of the Year in 1993. In 1994, he was roasted by the Bayliss Broadcast Foundation and inducted into the Nebraska Broadcasters Association Hall Of Fame. The Illinois Broadcasters Association also bestowed that same honor on him in 1999. In 2000, he was the recipient of the Arkansas Broadcasters Pinnacle Award. In April 2006 he was recognized with the Broadcast Pioneer Award from the Broadcasters’ Foundation.
RAB President and CEO Erica Farber released the following statement on his passing:
“It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of our friend and colleague, Gary Fries.
Gary served the RAB and industry for 14 years and during his tenure as radio’s leading advocate he provided tremendous leadership and guidance. Under his direction, the RAB increased its membership and introduced and advanced numerous sales training programs. He spearheaded radio to the forefront in media accountability, playing a dominant role in the development of RAEL working with advertisers, agencies and broadcasters to further the industry’s understanding of how radio advertising works. He also encouraged radio to embrace electronic data interchange, urging the industry to adopt electronic invoicing.
Upon his departure from the RAB, he left with the title of President Emeritus and continued to hold a seat on the RAB Board to his very last day. With a large physical presence and a strong personality he always made his presence known. On a personal note, Gary and I partnered together on many initiatives and I always found a welcoming partner and friend.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this time.”