But the association’s new Washington lobbyist has both the resume and family background to handle his new challenges.
Doug Wiley’s first week as the National Association of Broadcasters’ chief lobbyist is apt to be a doozy.
When Wiley takes over as head of NAB’s government relations team on Monday there’s a chance the Senate Commerce Committee will vote on legislation to increase broadcast indecency fines. Also giving TV broadcasters indigestion is a video franchising bill simmering in the Senate committee that contains provisions dealing with so-called white spaces and would allow cable to downconvert broadcasters’ DTV signals.
At the same time, Wiley must begin stabilizing his department which has experienced a lot of turnover in the last several months and which NAB President David Rehr has pledged to significantly expand.
Gone are John Orlando and Bryce Harlow (to CBS), Melinda Lewis (to Nextel) and John Lively (to former NAB President Eddie Fritts’ new firm). New to the office are Laurie Knight and Mike Mullen.
That’s quite a load for day one, but the 44-year-old Wiley ought to be able to handle it. He has a long and solid resume of making federal telecommunications policy (including the broadcasting and cable variety) from the inside and shaping it from the outside. “I know what retransmission consent and must carry means,” he says.
Wiley joins the NAB from the Electronic Industries Alliance, where he was senior vice president for government relations. Its diverse membership includes Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft and Intel.
Wiley sees his NAB appointment as a return to his broadcasting roots. He worked on broadcast issues as a young staffer at the Commerce Department and on Capitol Hill.
Plus, he learned a few things from his father, Richard Wiley, arguably the most influential broadcast attorney in Washington for the past three decades. When Doug was in high school, his father was chairman of the FCC.
The younger Wiley acknowledges the considerable influence his father has had on his career and his understanding of the law and the way Washington works. But the two careers have been separate, he says. “If you look at my background and my career, hopefully I’ve proved myself and forged my own way,” he says.
The elder Wiley is happy to see him at NAB. “It’s a good opportunity for him,” he says. He also thinks his son’s telecom background is a plus for NAB. “Convergence is going to happen, so I think it’s good all the way around. He [Doug] knows all the telecom issues. But he did work on broadcast issues. And he’s got some advisers … like Dad who will tell him.”
Out of college, Doug went to work at WMAL-AM Washington: “I had a dream of going into broadcasting.” He worked in the newsroom, was a stringer for ABC Radio and produced a talk show.
But that dream was short-lived. He began his career in government by joining the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration during the first Bush Administration when it was under the direction of Al Sikes. That led to a job on the staff of then-Republican Rep. Thomas J. Bliley, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “I handled all his telecom work—mass media and common carrier. So, I did a lot of broadcast work on the Hill.”
After leaving Bliley, Wiley was a vice president at the Telecommunications Industry Association. He was also director of legislative affairs for the Competitive Telecommunications Association (CompTel) and helped draft and codify elements of the landmark Telecommunications Act of 1996.
Before joining EIA in 2003, Wiley was director of government relations for Alcatel where he was a founding member of the High Tech Broadband Coalition.Government relations is, after all, about relations with the right people. And Wiley is said to have them—on Capitol Hill and on K Street. “He knows his way around town,” says Ward White, vice president of federal relations for Bell South.
Tribune lobbyist Shaun Sheehan concurs: “He brings a strong mix of Hill experience and personal experience. I am sure he’s the right guy for the right job.”
Wiley is also a familiar face at the FCC. He knows both FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein well. And, if FCC nominee Robert McDowell makes it to the agency, Wiley won’t need any introduction. “Rob and I are friends. I go way back with Rob,” says Wiley. “I even helped him on his first campaign for the Virginia legislature.”
NAB’s Rehr says Wiley is exactly what he was looking for to fill what may be the second-most important job at NAB. “I wanted to get someone who had worked in and been around the broadcast industry. I figured he was around it most of his life just because of who he is.”
Having someone with Wiley’s communications ties will definitely help Rehr, a virtual newcomer to the industry, who joined NAB from the Beer Wholesalers Association.
“I know how to lobby, I know how to advocate, I know how to move the ball down the field,” Rehr says. “What I need are people with good instincts that get it. Out of all the candidates [there were 14], he was most impressive. He just got it.”