2012 NAB Show Opens In Las Vegas
April 16, 2012 at 3:10 PM (PT)
The 2012 NAB SHOW had its formal opening MONDAY morning (4/17) in LAS VEGAS with an ending session introduced by actress TERI HATCHER, who initially called it the "Nab Show" (and later, apparently unaware of her mistake, said that she feared mistakenly pronouncing the name as "nab"). This year's theme is "The Great Content Shift," and the focus remains primarily on video, but radio is being included with several sessions and panels as well as the annual Radio Luncheon on TUESDAY.
Smith: 'We Have What Everyone Else Wants'
In his opening remarks, NAB Pres./CEO GORDON SMITH declared that the "NAB is back," trumpeting successes in the spectrum auction debate ("We averted a spectrum grab by misguided friends") while using the SOPA case to suggest that the organization not rest on its laurels. "We can't let down our guard," SMITH insisted, assuring his members that the NAB will continue to defend free over-the-air broadcasting while taking shots at cable and satellite for their stances on retransmission consent payments for television signals. He asked where station operators where they want to be in five, 10, 15, or 20 years, and warned radio that in-car streaming, tweeting and podcasting will pose more competition in that realm. And he also warned that broadcasters need to be "on every device," posing wireless carriers as the enemy for proposing their own paid mobile television service and repeating the NAB's position that FM chips be included in cell phones (citing the cell phone system's "certain failure" in emergencies). "Broadband can never replicate" broadcasting's emergency capabilities, SMITH insisted. "Broadcasting is a robust business," he added, telling broadcasters to "think big ... We have what everyone else wants."
SMITH presented the Distinguished Service Award to the E.W. SCRIPPS CO., the second company to be honored with the award in the NAB's history. SCRIPPS, a former radio station owner, remains in the television and newspaper business and has been successful with its cable television networks like HGTV and FOOD NETWORK. It folded the ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS and CINCINNATI POST in recent years.
STEPHEN J. DUBNER, co-writer of the "FREAKONOMICS" books and host of NEW YORK PUBLIC RADIO noncommercial WNYC-A-F/NEW YORK and AMERICAN PUBLIC MEDIA's "FREAKONOMICS" show and podcast, gave a keynote address declaring himself a "broadcast media-oholic" and discussing the industry's response to change. DUBNER used some of the studies cited in his books and on his show, including the statistics about how many people wash their hands after using public restrooms (30% do not), to illustrate how not to misuse anecdotal and faulty data and how to interpret expert predictions ("they do about as well as a monkey with a dartboard").
FCC Chairman's Hit-And-Run Appearance
FCC Chairman JULIUS GENACHOWSKI's surprisingly brief -- less than a half-hour -- appearance at the convention MONDAY afternoon recounted reasons for the improvement of broadcasters' financial pictures, including the improvement in the economy and television's retransmission consent payments. GENACHOWSKI concentrated on television and wireless issues, including spectrum auctions, calling for the industry to work together to implement spectrum policy and the auction process, spending considerable time pitching broadcast television licensees on the reasons why the auctions are in their best interests. He also voiced his support for posting political advertising records online, as has been proposed for television stations, asserting the benefits of disclosure against complaints that the process would be expensive and cumbersome. "Why have a special exemption for broadcasters from online political disclosure?," asked GENACHOWSKI.
An Election Ad Rules Primer
The FCC's BOBBY BAKER joined three communications lawyers on a panel offering broadcasters advice on interpreting political advertising rules. The panel, including attorneys JACK GOODMAN, BRIAN MADDEN, and DAWN SCIARRINO, took on issues like Super PACs in the wake of the CITIZENS UNITED case (GOODMAN noted that SuperPAC ads are not subject to lowest unit rate ads; organizations seeking lowest unit rate can be asked for a declaration from the candidate that it is an official part of its campaign before being determined to be qualified for lowest unit rate), the CALM Act (regulating TV spot loudness, which the FCC says is a technical requirement and applies to election ads), the FCC's non-discrimination policy (MADDEN's interpretation, with GOODMAN agreeing, is that it would not apply to buys by candidates, although the Commission has not said anything yet to that effect), captioning (SCIARRINO suggested that if material is five minutes or more, it needs to be captioned), and candidate qualifications (and what to do if a candidate submits objectionable material in a spot).
Social Media And The 'Return On Relationship'
Newly-appointed RAB President and CEO ERICA FARBER moderated a panel on "return on relationship," the use of social media to build, enhance, and leverage relationships between stations and listeners. The session included presentations from PRESSLAFF INTERACTIVE's RUTH PRESSLAFF on email and online survey marketing (reminding broadcasters that email is by a wide margin more used than any other social media and that email generates the lion's share of revenue as compared to other social media), TRITON DIGITAL's CHRIS BELL on "gamification" (using game mechanics on non-game websites to engage people and get them to do what you want them to do, like with loyalty programs), JACOBS MEDIA's LORI LEWIS (also an ALL ACCESS columnist) on building a social brand by taking the time and effort to interact with listeners on Twitter and in Facebook comments (with highly entertaining examples of companies failing to properly do so), and JOURNAL BROADCAST GROUP's JIM THOMAS on developing relationships, comparing the "old model" to today's social media strategies and the "risk of inactivity."