The National Association of Broadcasters announced Tuesday that Dennis Wharton, executive vice president of Communications, is retiring effective July 1. Wharton, a 24-year veteran of NAB and the longest-serving spokesman in the organization’s history, will continue to serve as a senior adviser to NAB, according to President and CEO Gordon Smith.
NAB CEO Gordon Smith said Dennis is a fervent advocate for local broadcasting and his dedication to NAB and the broadcast industry cannot be overstated. “Journalists, broadcasters and colleagues alike value his extensive insight on industry-related issues and appreciate the enthusiasm and good humor he brings to his work. We wish Dennis all the best and are fortunate to have him stay on as an adviser to NAB.”
Wharton joined NAB in 1996 as vice president, Media Relations and subsequently was promoted to senior vice president in 1997 and executive vice president in 2006. He has overseen NAB departments that include Media Relations, Research and Public Service. Wharton joined NAB after a 16-year journalism career in Ohio and as Washington bureau chief for Variety, where he covered legislative and regulatory issues related to broadcasting, cable and Hollywood movie studios.
In an e-mail to the NAB Board of Directors last night, Wharton called his retirement a “bittersweet moment” and described his tenure at NAB as “the privilege of my professional life.” Wharton wrote that he has been “in the catbird seat for countless moments in broadcast history” over 24 years, including the launch of HDTV, radio performance royalty fights, “wardrobe malfunctions,” and media consolidation battles. He said he is most proud of the unparalleled public service of local broadcast stations, which has been on prominent display during the COVID-19 crisis.