NAB's Rehr Stresses Future
April 24, 2006 at 10:47 AM (PT)
New NAB Pres./CEO DAVID REHR's first opening speech at the organization's annual LAS VEGAS convention pledged to take the industry "from one who is perceived as being on defense to one on offense." REHR, citing one example, noted that satellite radio claims 10 million subscribers but that broadcast radio has "260 million listeners just last week."
"Its business model is bankrupt," REHR said of satellite radio. "We will beat you," he warned satellite radio operators and Internet streamers, reiterating the NAB's demand for a "level playing field."
REHR outlined five areas in which broadcasters can "go on offense," first citing technology -- putting content through all possible distribution means on every new device, must-carry for TV signals (and "must-share" for revenues), stressing the local content of broadcast radio. He also urged that the industry promote the benefits of free, over-the-air digital TV and radio ("radio is on the verge of its greatest transformation"), promote competition between phone companies and cable and satellite for television delivery (to ensure compensation for retransmission consent), "empower parents" against indecency (adding his opposition to indecency, especially on satellite radio), and become more advocates than lobbyists, preferring the more "positive" term for pushing the industry's agenda.
The "All-Industry Opening Session" was for the first time produced and projected in HDTV form this year. Huge screens on either side of the LAS VEGAS HILTON ballroom stage showed the opening remarks of REHR and BONNEVILLE's BRUCE REESE (NAB Joint Board Chairman) in high definition, a marked improvement over past years' analog projection screens.
The ceremony also honored TOM BROKAW, DAN RATHER, and the late PETER JENNINGS with the group's Distinguished Service Award.