CHANGING OF THE GUARD: ATSC President Richer Retiring

A search is getting under way to replace long-time ATSC President Mark Richer, who announced plans to retire later this year. 

Richer’s 40-year television career has spanned the transitions from analog to digital TV, standard-definition to high-definition TV, and now to 4K and Next Gen TV.  The capstone of Richer’s career is the ATSC 3.0 suite of Next Gen TV standards, representing the world’s first Internet Protocol-based system that marries broadcast and broadband.

In addition to leading the ATSC for 20 of its 35 years, Richer’s noteworthy industry contributions include his pioneering development of closed captioning in the 1980s and his key role in what is now known as ATSC 1.0, overseeing the technical evaluations of proponent systems for the world’s first digital TV broadcast standard in the 1990s.

ATSC ‘Well Positioned’ for the Future

“Mark Richer is well known and respected for his leadership skills, deep industry knowledge, unwavering integrity, future-focused vision and wry sense of humor. With broadcaster deployments of ATSC 3.0 now under way, he’s going out on top. And while Mark will be missed, the ATSC is well positioned for the future,” Claudy said.

Richer said he’s “particularly proud of the ATSC’s role in redefining the future of television” with ATSC 3.0. “But our work isn’t done by any means,” he said, citing the ATSC’s important role in updating and developing standards, while supporting the launch of Next Gen TV broadcasting.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to participate in the dynamic television industry over the years, and I look forward to assuring a smooth transition to new leadership in the months ahead,” said Richer.

Storied Career

Richer first joined the ATSC as Executive Director in 1996-97 after 16 years at PBS where, as Vice President of Engineering & Computer Services, he was responsible for development of new technologies for PBS and its member stations, design of audio/video systems and management of computer operations. 

He was instrumental in the development of the Line 21 closed captioning system for which PBS was awarded a technical Emmy.  He also was responsible for the selection and implementation of digital video compression and transmission technology and led PBS efforts in the area of digital and high definition television. 

From 1997 to 2000, Richer was Vice President and General Manager at CDS, a division of Thomcast Communications.  At Thomcast, he was responsible for marketing, communications, strategic planning and business development for Thomcast Communications, including its Comark and Comwave subsidiaries.

Industry Leadership

Richer chaired the system testing and evaluation group for the FCC Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service, chaired by former FCC Chairman Richard E. Wiley from 1987-95.  Richer was responsible for testing proponent advanced television systems, including that of the Digital HDTV Grand Alliance, the core of the ATSC 1.0 digital broadcast standard adopted by the FCC in 1996. 

Among other accolades over the years, Richer received Broadcasting & Cable’s Technology Leadership Award in 2007, the National Association of Broadcasters’ Television Engineering Achievement Award in 2010, and America’s Public Television Stations’ EDGE Award for Excellence in Innovation in 2018.

He is a Fellow of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a member of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, a charter member of the Consumer Technology Association’s Academy of Digital Television Pioneers and serves on the FCC’s Technological Advisory Council.

Newly elected 2019 ATSC Board Chairman Lynn Claudy of NAB has appointed former Board Chairman Richard Friedel of Fox to lead the search committee to identify Richer’s successor as ATSC President.  Friedel requests that suggestions for possible candidates be submitted to ATSC Secretary Daro Bruno (dbruno@atsc.org) by Feb. 15.