Farber Saluted By Broadcasters Foundation For Excellence


LAS VEGAS — It has become a tradition for many NAB Show attendees to conclude the annual conference and expo with an early morning breakfast gathering in the Brahms Roomn of the Encore Resort. This year was no different, as the 2024 NAB Show began its final day with a Broadcasters Foundation of America event that saw a radio industry icon receive an “Excellence in Broadcasting Award.”

Erica Farber, who is exiting the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) after 12 years, was saluted for her many contributions to the radio industry. Before joining RAB as its CEO, she led the former beloved industry trade publication Radio & Records. She has also held leadership roles at Interep, and for RKO Radio. Farber even auditioned for the role of Laurie Partridge in the original ABC television series The Partridge Family. Susan Dey got the role; the radio industry got Farber, who rose to lead RKO’s WXLO “99X” in New York in the mid-1970s when actor and comedian Jay Thomas was the station’s morning host.

In addition to Farber’s recognition, several other prominent industry figures in broadcasting have been named this year’s BFoA Leadership Award recipients.

Mike McVay BFoA Award

These include Mike McVay, President of McVay Media; Don Bouloukos, a former executive at CBS and ABC Radio; and Traug Keller of ABC Radio Network and ESPN Radio.

On the television front, recipients were Frank Comerford, NBCU Local CRO and President of Commercial Operations; and John Rouse, EVP of ABC Affiliate Relations at Disney Platform Distribution.

Kathleen Kirby, a Partner at Wiley Law, is also among the 2024 honorees.

For over seventy years, the Broadcasters Foundation of America has served as a crucial support network, providing confidential financial assistance to over 1,000 radio and television broadcasters and their families across the United States who face severe financial difficulties. The foundation, supported by its Board of Directors, numerous volunteers, and many contributors, continues to offer aid to those in the broadcasting community in need.

On December 11, 1995, after a few training days at the Washington, D.C., bureau led by Randall Bloomquist, a wide-eyed, cocky, poorly dressed cub reporter with a journalism degree and a passion for the radio business showed up for his first day of work at Radio & Records‘ Los Angeles office at precisely 8:55am. Twenty-five minutes later, when most of the editorial team rolled in, as is typical in L.A., he settled in for what would turn out to be a 10 1/2-year career at R&R. While there was plenty of immature stupidity that led to meetings with Ron Rodrigues and Cyndee Maxwell and lapses of judgment galore, the woman who ran R&R — Erica Farber — was struck by my quick ability to settle in to Southern California just four days after frantically packing and flying out west for the most exciting opportunity one could have dreamed of. I shared with Erica how I found a furnished apartment, mastered the local bus schedules as I had no money for a car (in 1995 this was absurd, compared to today), and had even entertained distant cousins one day after securing a lease. “Would you like to consider a role in our sales team?” she asked. I was flattered … but I was a journalist, and brought to R&R to cover Radio. I stuck with that. And, I made lifelong friends, a few enemies, and met a slew of rock ‘n’ roll celebrities.
With the sale of R&R to VNU and its August 8, 2006, merger with Billboard Radio Monitor, I was moving on — and away from Radio. It was a great run; I was done … until August 8, 2016, when Eric Rhoads and Deborah Parenti gave the keys to a publication that was barely on the radar during my R&R days. Fast-forward to the 2024 NAB Show, and somehow, someway, I’m one of two people tied to my time at R&R that are still covering the industry today. Kevin Carter continues the “Street Talk” legacy, as I offer broadcast media business, legal and financial news with skills carved at R&R. While Gail Mitchell was a marvelous mentor, and Julie Gidlow was the News Editor extraordinaire who deserves tremendous accolades for translating Pig Latin and Stream of Consciousness Essays into intelligent, insight-filled columns, I must congratulate Erica on her retirement and for all she has done for this industry, and for me. Without Erica agreeing to create a position for me, who knows where I’d be right now.
Over the years we’ve always figured out how to say hello. Alas, this year I didn’t get the chance, even as we were steps away from each other at the ENCO booth, or at the ever-popular Encore Lobby Bar. So, here’s to you Erica. Thank you. Mille Grazie. Gracias. I can’t say it in enough ways.


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