NAB's Smith Talks To Media Institute
November 18, 2009 at 4:19 AM (PT)
Speaking to the MEDIA INSTITUTE on TUESDAY (11/17), NAB Pres./CEO GORDON SMITH addressed a range of topics including performance royalties and indecency.
On the "performance tax," SMITH said that the radio and music businesses "are mature industries, and there is no more money. How we divide up what exists of the money is really the issue from the radio standpoint, because if you want to limit what the American people are able to enjoy and take for granted, in a number of 230 million radio listeners per week -- if you want to jeopardize that and turn more radio into talk radio, all RUSH (LIMBAUGH), all the time -- then what you do is further complicate the economics of radio. So you split the baby and you kill it for both."
The radio and music businesses are mature industries, and there is no more money. How we divide up what exists of the money is really the issue from the radio standpoint.
On indecency, SMITH said that the matter should be left to technology, with "five-second delays, V-chips, content ratings" allowing for avoidance of questionable content. Saying that broadcasters are sensitive to the issue, he stressed technology as the answer "so we can balance the First Amendment with the need to be competitive and the need to empower parents and shield children from things that they ought not to see."
On media consolidation, SMITH said, "With some guidelines, there ought to be a way to allow journalism to survive with economies of scale between newspapers, radio and television," with common newsrooms permissible as long as editorial content remains separate.
On other issues, SMITH called net neutrality "a solution looking for a problem" and warned that regulation could "drive capital away." And he avoided taking a side in the dispute between TV networks and stations over the networks wanting a share of cable retransmission fees presently kept 100% by the stations, calling it a "family fight."