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Sinclair legal affairs president Jerald Fritz to retire

Jerald Fritz. (Courtesy photo)
Jerald Fritz. (Courtesy photo)

After more than 55 years working in broadcasting and communications, Jerald Fritz is ready to retire.

On Monday, Sinclair, Inc. said the leader known to his friends and colleagues as Jerry will step down from his role as executive vice president of strategic and legal affairs at the company’s subsidiary One Media, which is focused on building out and marketing the next-generation digital broadcasting platform called NextGen TV.

“No one knows broadcast television better than Jerry. He brings a unique blend of legal expertise, policy know-how, and technical facility that has made him instrumental in the industry’s advancement of ATSC 3.0,” Patrick McFadden, the Senior Vice President of Global Public Policy and Communications at Sinclair, said in a statement on Monday. ATSC 3.0 refers to the digital broadcast technology at the core of NextGen TV, which unifies traditional over-the-air television with encryption, Internet streams and other features.

“We honor the incredible legacy of Jerry, one that has impacted our entire industry,” Mark Aitken, the President of One Media, said on Monday. “His wisdom and contributions will be deeply missed, but his influence will continue to inspire and guide future generations.”

Sinclair offered the following biography on Fritz’s life and career:

Fritz joined One Media from Allbritton Communications Company and Politico, where he served as General Counsel and Director of Strategic Affairs for nearly 30 years. Previously, he served as the Chief of Staff to FCC Chairman Mark Fowler, where he was a key member of the team that pushed to deregulate the broadcasting and telecommunications industries including abolishing the Fairness Doctrine, dramatic loosening of station ownership rules, implementing the AT&T divestiture, approving the first cellular phone service, and deregulating long distance rates. He had a hand in helping to form multiple new ventures, including the nation’s first local cable news channel and launching Politico. Prior to joining the Chairman’s staff, Fritz was in private practice at Pierson Ball & Dowd specializing in communications law, held several staff positions at the FCC and taught on the adjunct faculty at George Mason University Law School.

Fritz has also served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Broadcasters, where he chaired the Task Force, served on the Digital Television Implementation Team and the EEO and Copyright Committees. He is a past Governor of the ABC Affiliates Association and was former chair of its Government Relations Committee. Fritz is also a former Governing Committee member and Division Chair of the American Bar Association’s Communications Law Forum and a past co-chair of the Pre-Publication Review Committee for the Media Law Resource Center. He has been a mainstay on the NAB’s Broadcast Leadership Training Program’s faculty for a quarter-century.

At One Media, Sinclair says Fritz played a critical role in promoting the adoption and deployment of NextGen Technology, which included shaping how Sinclair would utilize the broadcast standard to make best use of its licensed spectrum and intellectual property.

“His work on the adoption of ATSC 3.0 as a global digital broadcast standard was recently recognized by the North American Broadcasters Association with its prestigious International Achievement Award,” a Sinclair spokesperson said.

Fritz’s last day with the company is July 1.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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