2016 NAB Show Officially Underway In Las Vegas
April 18, 2016 at 3:04 PM (PT)
The NAB SHOW got its official start MONDAY morning in LAS VEGAS with an opening session featuring NAB Pres./CEO GORDON SMITH's opening remarks, the presentation of the organization's Distinguished Service Award to ABC NEWS correspondent BOB WOODRUFF, and a keynote by DISNEY MEDIA NETWORKS Co-Chairman and DISNEY/ABC TELEVISION GROUP Pres. BEN SHERWOOD.
SMITH, after discussing the election year, compared the "serious choice" presented by elections – "a chance at course correction or a way to make necessary changes in order to improve the quality of our lives – a crossroads, if you will" -- to how the NAB SHOW "presents broadcasters with choices that could impact their futures, and gives us the chance to seek new directions and make changes where warranted so we can continue to deliver the best live, local content to our viewers and listeners, where and when they want it."
He called on broadcasters to "take to heart the responsibility that the freedom of the press grants them under the First Amendment," taking on the mantle of investigative reporting. The speech also pointed to the need after the television spectrum auction to "ensure time and funds are sufficient to allow broadcasters to complete their (channel) moves -- so that no viewer is left in the dark because a station is forced off the air or left to foot the bill for expenses that Congress did not intend and stations cannot afford."
SMITH defended broadcast use of spectrum against mobile broadband, drawing applause with the assertion that "there is no higher and better use of spectrum than serving diverse audiences with free and local TV programming for all citizens ... It seems everyone wants what we have – our content and our spectrum, SMITH contended, "but nobody wants to do what we do – live and vital localism. These unique qualities of broadcast TV should be cherished by the FCC, rather than ensuring its availability only to the wealthy."
On radio, SMITH reiterated the call for FM chips in smartphones and ensuring radio's "rightful place in the automotive dashboard of the future" noting that radio, in surveys, is "the most used and most important audio source by far" and that most people "also want a traditional radio interface ... We must and we will continue to retain our rightful place in the automobile, offering not just the radio everyone knows, loves and expects, but, also providing our interactive experience for those listeners who desire it. In the end, the customer is king and our listeners will decide what they want and what is on the dash."
SMITH, noting the Copyright Royalty Board's 32% rate reduction for radio broadcasters' streams, added that "we want reasonable streaming rates that encourage more broadcasters to stream and deliver music in new ways to their listeners."
Lunch And Learn: Finding, Keeping, And Training Sales Talent
A "lunch and learn" session moderated by the RADIO ADVERTISING BUREAU's ERICA FARBER offered tips on employee engagement and training, team building, recruiting, and more from TOWNSQUARE MEDIA's ERIK HELLUM, NEUHOFF MEDIA's BETH NEUHOFF, and CONNOISSEUR MEDIA's JEFF WARSHAW.
The panel discussed the value of training, with HELLUM highlighting his company's "TOWNSQUARE University" program, NEUHOFF focusing on her corporate culture and training "as an opportunity ot reinforce our core values," and WARSHAW talking about his company's "all-encompassing" deal with the RAB for training ("a spiritual thing... we believe in the relentless pursuit of self-betterment").
On attracting new talent, NEUHOFF said that her company recruits young talent from smaller towns and operates a camp to instruct sports play-by-play announcers. "We give them the bug... then they want to come back," NEUHOFF advised. HELLUM suggested that the way the jobs are presented -- not as a simple sales job but as a representative of top brands connecting them with events and advertisers -- is critical. WARSHAW noted that Hot AC WEZN (STAR 99.9)/BRIDGEPORT co-host ANNA ZAP was recruited from CRAIGSLIST; HELLUM said his company has hired talent from YOUTUBE.
NEUHOFF described how she took company leaders to ZAPPOS in LAS VEGAS to examine its corporate culture and then established her own company's core values of "Innovation, community, excellence, and grit," reinforced with a competition among employees to create videos demonstrating the values.
On innovation, WARSHAW noted that competition on digital is coming "from people in their home," so, in his view, a professional staff should be able to develop ideas to compete; he characterized it as "unlocking these great assets." WARSHAW advised to make employees comfortable with the idea that they are permitted to be creative; his company also has compiled a handbook on social media use to encourage and lead talent to use social media better. NEUHOFF admitted that her company has been "challenged" in selling its music websites, but has had some success with video and advised that every radio personality should be making video.
And WARSHAW pointed out that prominent digital media companies like BUZZFEED are "sucking wind... the companies that everybody wanted to be a year ago are cutting people." He noted that the use of ad blockers is cutting deeply into potential revenue. "That's not a business for me," he said, adding that with GOOGLE, AMAZON, and APPLE, "three of the best companies in the world," operating streaming and not caring whether they make money with it, competing with them seems to be impossible.
NextRadio's Next Step
A presentation by NEXTRADIO chief PAUL BRENNER showed off the mobile app's ability to return measurement information to stations and advertisers. The data attribution includes engagement, demographics, and location. Asked how the app will be affected as Bluetooth headphones become more ubiquitous (and thus make FM tuners in cell phones ineffective, since the timers need headset cords as antennas; APPLE is strongly rumored to be eliminating headphone jacks on the iPhone 7), BRENNER said that QUALCOMM is working on Bluetooth-enabled chips but admitted that a wire, even if not connected to earbuds, will always be needed to receive FM stations.
What's Up On Capitol Hill
A Congressional update session MONDAY afternoon, moderated by SCHURZ COMMUNICATIONS' MARCI BURDICK, brought House and Senate staffers to LAS VEGAS to talk about telecommunications policy.
Oversight of the FCC and spectrum auction will continue to be a focus for Congress, House Communications Subcommittee counsel KELSEY GUYSELMAN said; Senate Commerce Committee staffer HAP RIGBY noted that a bill finally reaching consensus on reauthorization of the FCC is headed to markup next week, and he voiced hope that the bill may represent "a small step" towards ending the partisan rancor that has marked debate over communications issues for several years.
On radio, GUYSELMAN said that the FCC already has the authority to address the pirate radio issue and the Committee was disappointed that the Commission moved to close field offices to enforce the rules.