The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is a trade association and
lobby group In politics, lobbying, persuasion or interest representation is the act of lawfully attempting to influence the actions, policies, or decisions of government officials, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies. Lobbying, whic ...
representing the interests of commercial and non-commercial over-the-air
radio Radio is the technology of signaling and communicating using radio waves. Radio waves are electromagnetic waves of frequency between 30 hertz (Hz) and 300  gigahertz (GHz). They are generated by an electronic device called a trans ...
television Television, sometimes shortened to TV, is a telecommunication medium for transmitting moving images and sound. The term can refer to a television set, or the medium of television transmission. Television is a mass medium for advertising, ...
broadcasters in the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 states, a federal district, five major unincorporated territo ...
. The NAB represents more than 8,300
terrestrial radio Radio broadcasting is transmission of audio (sound), sometimes with related metadata, by radio waves to radio receivers belonging to a public audience. In terrestrial radio broadcasting the radio waves are broadcast by a land-based radio sta ...
television stations A television station is a set of equipment managed by a business, organisation or other entity, such as an amateur television (ATV) operator, that transmits video content and audio content via radio waves directly from a transmitter on the earth ...
as well as
broadcast network A terrestrial network (or broadcast network in the United States) is a group of radio stations, television stations, or other electronic media outlets, that form an agreement to air, or broadcast, content from a centralized source. For example, ...
s. As of 2022, the president and CEO of the NAB is Curtis LeGeyt.


The NAB was founded as the National Association of Radio Broadcasters (NARB) in April 1923 at the Drake Hotel in
Chicago (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption = Interactive Map of Chicago , coordinates = , coordinates_footnotes = , subdivision_type = Country , subdivision_name ...
. The association's founder and first president was Eugene F. McDonald Jr., who also launched the Zenith corporation. In 1951 it changed its name to the National Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters (NARTB) to include the television industry. In 1958 it adopted its current name, "National Association of Broadcasters".

Commercial radio

The NAB worked to establish a
commercial radio Commercial broadcasting (also called private broadcasting) is the broadcasting of television programs and radio programming by privately owned corporate media, as opposed to state sponsorship. It was the United States′ first model of radio ( ...
system in the United States. The system was set up in August 1928 with the establishment of General Order 40—a radio reallocation scheme by the
Federal Radio Commission The Federal Radio Commission (FRC) was a government agency that regulated United States radio communication from its creation in 1927 until 1934, when it was succeeded by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FRC was established by t ...
which awarded the choicest frequencies and broadcast times to the then-emerging commercial radio industry. In the wake of General Order 40, a loose coalition of educators,
nonprofit A nonprofit organization (NPO) or non-profit organisation, also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, public or social benefit, in co ...
labor union A trade union (labor union in American English), often simply referred to as a union, is an organization of workers intent on "maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment", ch. I such as attaining better wages and benefits ( ...
s, and religious groups coalesced to oppose the NAB and their allies through the 1920s and 1930s, and to develop a public, nonprofit, license-funded radio system without commercials (similar to what happened with the BBC). The coalition claimed that the commercial industry would only promote profitable programming, thereby reducing the quality and future potential of radio broadcasting. Not having the political connections, resources, or publicity of the NAB and the commercial radio industry, the non-profit coalition eventually lost the fight with the passage of the
Communications Act of 1934 The Communications Act of 1934 is a United States federal law signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 19, 1934 and codified as Chapter 5 of Title 47 of the United States Code, et seq. The Act replaced the Federal Radio Commission wit ...
. The National Independent Broadcasters were formed in 1939 as part of the NAB, to represent stations that were not associated with any network, but the group split off in 1941.

Satellite radio

satellite radio Satellite radio is defined by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)'s ITU Radio Regulations (RR) as a '' broadcasting-satellite service''. The satellite's signals are broadcast nationwide, across a much wider geographical area than te ...
enthusiasts have criticized the NAB for lobbying against legislation approvals for those services. The NAB protested the FCC's approval of both satellite radio services in the United States— XM and
Sirius Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky. Its name is derived from the Greek word , or , meaning 'glowing' or 'scorching'. The star is designated α Canis Majoris, Latinized to Alpha Canis Majoris, and abbreviated Alpha CM ...
—and furthermore criticized the 2008 merger of the two companies, calling the merged company a "potential
monopoly A monopoly (from Greek language, Greek el, μόνος, mónos, single, alone, label=none and el, πωλεῖν, pōleîn, to sell, label=none), as described by Irving Fisher, is a market with the "absence of competition", creating a situati ...

Digital transition

In 2005, the NAB, together with the Association for Maximum Service Television Stations, Inc. (MSTV), commenced development of a prototype high quality, low cost digital-to-analog converter box for terrestrial
digital television Digital television (DTV) is the transmission of television signals using digital encoding, in contrast to the earlier analog television technology which used analog signals. At the time of its development it was considered an innovative advan ...
reception. The result of this project was a specification for the converter box, which was then adopted by the
National Telecommunications and Information Administration The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is an agency of the United States Department of Commerce that serves as the President's principal adviser on telecommunications policies pertaining to the United States' ...
technical requirement
for eligible converter boxes for the Administration's Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Coupon Program.

White space

The NAB has lobbied against the use of white spaces, unused broadcast spectrum lying between broadcast channels, for wireless broadband internet and other digital use. The NAB has claimed that use of white space will interfere with existing broadcast spectrum, even though tests by the Federal Communications Commission at levels far stronger than that being advocated for in policy circles have not supported such claims. Indeed, the FCC has recommended the use of white spaces for broadband and other digital use. In 2011 the NAB funded an advertising campaign titled "The Future of TV", advocating for the private ownership of the spectrum, framed as a threat to free television.

Free TV campaign

In mid-2014, an NAB advertising campaign against a Congressional threat appeared, advocating viewers to defeat a cable-TV lobby.

Similar organizations

Organizations similar to the NAB exist in individual U.S. states, including Georgia Association of Broadcasters (GAB) in
Georgia Georgia most commonly refers to: * Georgia (country), a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia * Georgia (U.S. state), a state in the Southeast United States Georgia may also refer to: Places Historical states and entities * Related to the ...
, and the Illinois Broadcasters Association (IBA), in Illinois. In
Canada Canada is a country in North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering over , making it the world ...
, the
Canadian Association of Broadcasters The Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) is a trade association representing the interests of commercial radio and television broadcasters in Canada. It is co-located with the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council in Ottawa. It was first ...
(CAB) has a similar role.


NAB's annual spring convention is the
NAB Show NAB Show is an annual trade show produced by the National Association of Broadcasters. It takes place in April, and has been held since 1991 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The show's tagline is "Where Content Comes to L ...
. It typically draws over 100,000 industry professionals. NAB also manages the NAB Radio Show which is held each autumn and draws over 3,000 radio professionals. At the 2010 and 2011 NAB shows, popular technology included stereoscopic video and editing software—a demand inspired by James Cameron's ''
Avatar Avatar (, ; ), is a concept within Hinduism that in Sanskrit literally means "descent". It signifies the material appearance or incarnation of a powerful deity, goddess or spirit on Earth. The relative verb to "alight, to make one's appearanc ...
''; point-of-view cameras, and DSLR cameras boasting shallow Depth of Field. Other strides in nonlinear editing technology included archival film restoration, digital audio mixing improvements, motion stabilization of hand-held footage and rotoscoping with one click. The annual
NAB Show NAB Show is an annual trade show produced by the National Association of Broadcasters. It takes place in April, and has been held since 1991 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The show's tagline is "Where Content Comes to L ...
returned to Las Vegas April 23-27, 2022, after a two-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Preliminary attendance figures indicated the show attracted more than 50,000 visitors from 155 countries.


In 1952, the NAB created the Code of Practices for Television Broadcasters, which banned profanity, the negative portrayal of family life, irreverence for God and religion, illicit sex, drunkenness and biochemical addiction, presentation of cruelty, detailed techniques of crime, the use of horror for its own sake, and the negative portrayal of law enforcement officials, among others. It was enforced by a committee appointed by President of the NAB. After the courts struck down the Code as unconstitutional in 1983, the NAB board of directors issued a brief "Statement of Principles of Radio and Television Broadcasters" that encourages broadcasters to "exercise responsible and careful judgment” in the selection of material relating to violence, drug abuse, and sex. On March 1, 2022 the NAB called "on broadcasters to cease carrying any state-sponsored programming with ties to the Russian government" in response to the
Russian invasion of Ukraine On 24 February 2022, in a major escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War, which began in 2014. The invasion has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths on both sides. It has caused Europe's largest refugee crisis since World War II. An ...
the week prior.

Hall of Fame inductees

NAB awards

The NAB presents several annual awards: *
NAB Marconi Radio Awards :''"Marconi Award" links here. Note that in the Netherlands, the radio academy awards are also called Marconi Awards.'' The Marconi Radio Awards are presented annually by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to the top radio stations and ...
, to the country's top radio stations and personalities * NAB National Radio Award, to an outstanding individual leader in the radio industry * NAB Crystal Radio Awards, to radio stations achieving excellence in community service * NAB Engineering Achievement Awards, to an individual for their outstanding accomplishments in the broadcast industry *NAB Distinguished Service Award, for broadcasters who have made a significant and lasting contribution to American broadcasting.


* Bruce A. Linton. ''Self-Regulation in Broadcasting''. Washington, D.C.: National Association of Broadcasters, 1967. * ''Broadcast Self-regulation'', 2nd edn. Washington, D.C.: NAB Code Authority, 1977. * ''The Television Code'', 22nd edn. Washington, D.C.: NAB Code Authority, 1981. * Jean Benz, Jane E. Mago, & Jerianne Timmerman, eds. ''Legal Guide to Broadcast Law and Regulation'', 6th edn. Washington, D.C.: National Association of Broadcasters, 2015.

See also

* Code of Practices for Television Broadcasters—includes the NAB's ''Television Code'' and ''Seal of Good Practice'' and enforced from 1952 to 1983.


External links

NAB official website

NAB Show

NAB Radio Show

William S. Hedges
papers at the
University of Maryland libraries The University of Maryland Libraries is the largest university library in the Washington, D.C. - Baltimore area. The university's library system includes eight libraries: six are located on the College Park campus, while the Severn Library, an o ...
. Hedges was a co-founder of NAB and also served as its president from 1928-1930.
National Association of Broadcasters records
at the University of Maryland libraries. {{authority control Radio organizations in the United States Television organizations in the United States Trade associations based in the United States Organizations established in 1922 Entertainment companies of the United States 501(c)(6) nonprofit organizations