JOHN LAWSON JOINS ION MEDIA NETWORKS AS EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, POLICY AND STRATEGIC INITIATIVES
(West Palm Beach, FL – February 11, 2008) -- ION Media Networks, Inc. (AMEX: ION) announced today that John Lawson, President and CEO of the Association of Public Television Stations (APTS), will join ION as Executive Vice President, Policy and Strategic Initiatives. In this new position, which will be based in Washington, D.C., Mr. Lawson will establish and lead the company’s multi-issue policy agenda in support of its operations and business strategy.
“John is a key addition to our management team, and his appointment is a crucial milestone in the evolution of our company to the next level,” said Brandon Burgess, Chairman and CEO, ION Media Networks. “He has a tremendous pedigree and successful track record in broadcast policy and carriage agendas for the digital age. John has also played a valuable role in developing the Open Mobile Video Coalition. We are very fortunate that he will be putting his unique skill set to work for ION and helping us achieve key public policy and business goals.”
In his position, which reports to Mr. Burgess, Mr. Lawson will lead ION’s Washington-based regulatory and policy operation, developing and implementing strategy on multiple issues affecting the company’s divisions and goals. He is charged with driving policy strategy for ION’s broadcast, digital and mobile television initiatives, as well as developing proposals for key public interest issues. He will play a leading role in business development around digital technologies, including deployment of a commercial mobile video service by the first quarter of 2009, and new content alliances. His role will touch on every aspect of ION’s business plan, including advertising and subscription revenue issues.
“I am very pleased to be joining ION at this critical juncture in its growth,” said Mr. Lawson. “I’ve often said that the television broadcasting industry was poised for a new era of growth as ’wireless TV.’ Brandon Burgess and ION are leading the way in unlocking the real value of digital television. I look forward to the helping develop the policies and strategies that will take ION to the next level.”
Mr. Lawson comes to ION from his role as President and C.E.O. of APTS, the national advocacy organization for U.S. Public Television. Under his leadership, Public Television pursued a successful legislative and regulatory agenda that included persuading Congress to invest over $500 million in the digital conversion of public television infrastructure. He secured favorable language for public television in education and rural development legislation and, with the Department of Homeland Security, guided the deployment of the Digital Emergency Alert System for the nation, based on the transmission capacity of public television stations. In 2005, he negotiated the most extensive agreement ever for the carriage of multiple digital programming streams on America’s cable networks, followed by digital carriage agreements with Verizon and DIRECTV.
Prior to his work with APTS, Mr. Lawson founded and managed Convergence Services, Inc., a consulting and lobbying firm that focused on educational technology. Before his time with Convergence, he was the national award-winning director of public information at the South Carolina ETV network.
A sought-after advisor on television-related policy, Mr. Lawson was a founding Board member of the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), and has been elected to its Executive Committee. He also served on the FCC’s Commercial Mobile Service Alert Advisory Committee. He was appointed to the FCC’s Media Security and Reliability Council, and served on the board of the National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training.
Mr. Lawson holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of South Carolina, and received the University’s Distinguished Alumnus Achievement Award in 2006.
About ION Media Networks
ION Media Networks, Inc. owns and operates the nation's largest broadcast television station group and ION Television, reaching over 94 million U.S. television households via its nationwide broadcast television, cable and satellite distribution systems. ION Television currently features popular TV series and movies from the award-winning libraries of Warner Bros., Sony Pictures Television and CBS Television, among others. ION Media has also partnered with RHI Entertainment, which owns over 4,000 hours of acclaimed television content, to provide weekend primetime programming consisting of exclusive original programming and quality library titles. Utilizing its digital multicasting capability, the company has launched several digital TV brands, including qubo, a television and multimedia network for children formed in partnership with several leading media and entertainment companies, and ION Life, a television and multimedia network dedicated to health and wellness for consumers and families. For more information, visit www.ionmedia.tv.