Smith founded Mission Broadcasting in 1998 and the company currently owns 16 stations–based mostly in smaller markets in Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Texas–which are operated by Nexstar Broadcasting.
Smith suffered a massive heart attack while attending a friend’s wedding in Austin, TX, according to an email sent out to Mission and Nexstar stations by Perry Sook, Nexstar’s president and CEO.
“David was a friend, a partner in business and an innovative broadcaster,” Sook wrote in the email. “He will be missed by all of us who knew him.”
Ownership control of Mission will be handed to Smith’s wife Nancie, currently an officer and director of the station group, as well as his estate. According to Sook, COO Dennis Thatcher will continue to oversee day-to-day operations of Mission.