Rehr Looks To Radio's Future At NAB Show
April 20, 2009 at 10:15 AM (PT)
NAB Pres./CEO DAVID K. REHR touted broadcasters' "planning for the future and seizing opportunities" in trying economic times in his address at the formal opening session of the NAB SHOW in LAS VEGAS MONDAY morning. "We are taking control of our future," he insisted, ripping critics who called radio "a medium of the past," touting the "RADIO 2020" initiative and the "RADIO HEARD HERE" consumer campaign as examples of radio's response to critics. He claimed a survey said that 90% of respondents said that the "RADIO HEARD HERE" campaign demonstrates radio's relevance, and noted that a large percentage of listening to online Internet streams is to broadcast radio stations.
We are taking control of our future.
REHR repeated his pitch for HD RADIO and the outreach to cell phone manufacturers to put FM radio chips into cell phones. Regarding the latter, he said that VERIZON, AT&T, and T-MOBILE have begun to add FM receivers to cell phones and said that he hopes to add APPLE to the fold; he stressed the value of Emergency Alert System bulletins as a reason to put FM chips into cell phones. REHR also gave some attention to the NAB's "Fastroad" technology advocacy program and broadcasters' production of content for online application. "Our brands are unmatched in our markets," REHR told broadcasters, urging broadcasters to extend their brands online. And he counseled broadcasters to maintain optimism and remember "the strength of our content."
The NAB kicked off another public relations campaign at the NAB SHOW MONDAY morning, handing out stickers for broadcasters to wear saying "I MATTER... when it matters most." The opening session also honored MARY TYLER MOORE with the organization's Distinguished Service Award.
Indecency, Violence, 'Hate Speech' Among Topics For Regulation Panel
An NAB SHOW panel on broadcast programming regulation MONDAY morning in LAS VEGAS reviewed the status of indecency cases and Congressional and FCC activity in regulating content.
Attorney JENNIFER TATEL of SIDLEY AUSTIN LLP said that an decision by the SUPREME COURT in the "BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS" case is coming "any day now," noting that a decision must be issued before the end of the current term. She also noted that the 2004 SUPER BOWL halftime "wardrobe malfunction" case is still awaiting the SUPREME COURT's consideration, as is an "NYPD BLUE" case and the FOX "MARRIED TO AMERICA" pixelated-nudity case, which is pending in district court.
FLETCHER HEALD AND HILDRETH Attorney HARRY COLE reviewed the FCC's "kinda made up" enforcement hold policy that has tied up some license renewals, noting that the Commission may be putting renewals on hold in order to keep a one-year statute of limitations for Notices of Apparent Liability from running, thus giving the FCC a longer period to issue an NAL. He explained the process by which a licensee can waive the statute of limitations in exchange for a renewal grant, leading to what COLE characterized as "holding the license hostage." Lawyer MARK PRAK of BROOKS PIERCE MCLENDON HUMPHREY AND LEONARD, LLP called the situation "double-secret probation," with licensees agreeing to waivers to enable sales to go through. He said that Acting Chairman MICHAEL COPPS is looking to shorten the waiver period to a two year window.
COLE warned that Congress' law ordering the FCC to find a "magic wand" system for parental control of content would apply to the Internet as well as broadcast and cable TV, DVDs, and practically every other medium except, oddly enough, radio. "I'm a lawyer, I'm not an engineer," said COLE, "... but I submit it is extremely unlikely that any magic wand COULD be created."
The panel also discussed the constitutionality of Sen. JAY ROCKEFELLER's move towards regulating violent content on television. TATEL wondered whether NFL football, news coverage, "AMERICA'S FUNNIEST HOME VIDEOS," or the THREE STOOGES would run afoul of such a law, noting how difficult it would be to craft a non-vague, constitutionally valid definition of violence.
On the NATIONAL HISPANIC MEDIA COALITION's filing asking the FCC to examine "hate speech," attorney MELODIE VIRTUE of GARVET SCHUBERT BARER claimed that she is a "First Amendment absolutist" but said that clips from RUSH LIMBAUGH, MICHAEL SAVAGE, GLENN BECK, and LOU DOBBS gave her pause. "There are really horrible things out there," VIRTUE said.
PRAK discussed the issue of advertising for controversial products, showing the audience a spot for a rifle manufacturer and an issue ad for FLORIDA's "SEMINOLE Compact" as examples of commercials that might raise concern. On sponsorship ID rules, VIRTUE noted that the Commission has stepped up enforcement of "pay for play"/payola and cited fines against QUEEN B and a consent decree with PAMAL to show where the FCC is going.
NAB Show Video Available
NAB SHOW organizers have expanded online video program offerings to include daily coverage of the show through APRIL 23rd. The program will present four segments comprising a daily highlight video, feature stories hosted by on-air talent, a series of interviews with industry leaders and visionaries as well as footage captured by a variety of attendees at the show.
More than two hours of video content will be produced in high definition format, and will be available through the NAB Show Web site, www.nabshow.com.
"Our enhanced video initiative will help viewers, whether at the show or on the other side of the world, stay on top of the news and developments coming out of the NAB Show," said NAB EVP/Conventions and Business Operations CHRIS BROWN. "It's also a great opportunity for us to produce and distribute content using the technologies that are represented on the show floor."
ALL ACCESS' News/Talk/Sports Editor PERRY SIMON is on hand and reporting back from the NAB.