NAB's Rehr: Stop The Negativity!
September 17, 2008 at 2:43 PM (PT)
NAB President/CEO DAVID K. REHR's "State of the Industry" address at the NAB RADIO SHOW in AUSTIN WEDNESDAY afternoon ripped the "negativity that pervades the radio business and threatens to paralyze us." REHR, playing the BUGGLES' "Video Killed the Radio Star" video, said that radio's end has been predicted with the onset of each new technology, yet radio is "strong and growing."
Dismissing claims that the industry is "obsolete ... not adapting fast enough," REHR said that the public is "not hearing about radio's success ... (radio) connects, informs, inspires an estimated 230 million listeners each year," which he noted is up three million (but may reflect a larger overall population). "We must commit to spreading the positive news about radio," REHR told the audience. "Radio needs people to believe."
We must commit to spreading the positive news about radio. Radio needs people to believe
REHR touted new opportunities for digital radio online and with HD RADIO, calling upon the industry to "embrace technology," and discussed the "FAST ROAD" technology advocacy program. He returned to the "RADIO HEARD HERE" campaign, which was launched in APRIL and has received criticism in the industry, saying that the program "will change consumers' and advertisers' perceptions about radio's future." REHR played new "RADIO HEARD HERE" PSAs that will be available for station use shortly, saying that younger listeners "loved" the spots in testing.
The four things to remember about radio, REHR insisted, are that radio reaches everyone, is driving technology, offers "more choices than ever before," and is "resilient and growing."
Regarding the NAB's regulatory battles, REHR said that an anti-performance royalty bill has 226 House members supporting it, a majority, and couched the fight against the "performance tax" as a battle between the U.S. radio industry and the "foreign-owned" labels. On the localism rules battle, REHR noted the service local broadcasters offered during and after Hurricane IKE, without the need for regulation to require it; REHR noted that 161 members of Congress have written letters to the FCC ranging from concern about to outright opposition to the localism proposals.
REHR's address was followed by NEW YORK TIMES and CNBC tech correspondent DAVID POGUE, who discussed new techological developments in his now-familiar tongue-in-cheek style.