NAB exec departs for railroad lobby

Laurie Knight, the top lobbyist for the National Association of Broadcasters, is leaving to join the Association of American Railroads (AAR) as senior vice president of government affairs, the groups announced Friday.

NAB President Gordon Smith said in a statement that the broadcasters will conduct an "exhaustive search" for Knight's successor. 

"NAB is in good hands with a solid group of government relations professionals who are in equal numbers Republicans and Democrats," he said. 

The AAR will be impressed with Knight's "political connections and work ethic," he said. 

Knight spent five years at NAB. Before that, she lobbied for the National Beer Wholesalers Association. She served as legislative director for former Rep. Jim Turner (D-Texas). 

The transition comes as the NAB fights some tough battles on the Hill and at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), where policymakers are pushing measures to devote TV airwaves to mobile broadband. The NAB says the policy is acceptable as long as broadcasters are not harmed.

At AAR, Knight will succeed Hubert “Obie” O’Bannon who will retire after 23 years with the association, the group said in an announcement.