Lawson moves on, joining Ion Media Networks

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Public TV’s top lobbyist for seven years, John Lawson, moves to a maverick commercial TV network March 14 as executive v.p., policy and strategic initiatives of Ion Media Networks, he announced today. Station reps at an Association of Public Television Stations meeting gave a standing ovation to Lawson, who had led their defense against budget cuts, negotiations for DTV carriage on cable and DBS, and creation of a new federal emergency alert net using DTV. Ion, formerly known as Paxson Communications and part-owned by NBC Universal, has more commercial TV stations than any U.S. broadcaster. Lawson, who helped develop the Open Mobile Video Coalition, will play a leading role in a new video service for mobile devices that Ion plans to put on its DTV signals next winter. Besides its main channel, built on familiar network reruns, Ion operates two DTV multicast channels, Ion Life, a health/wellness channel, and the qubo literacy service for kids. Lawson became APTS president in March 2001.