NAB Conference Highlights: Spectrum Allocation, Royalty Battle, State Of Media And More
April 13, 2011 at 5:45 AM (PT)
ALL ACCESS News/Talk Editor PERRY MICHAEL SIMON continues his coverage this year's NAB SPRING CONFERENCE. The show officially opened SATURDAY (4/9), with exhibits beginning MONDAY at the LAS VEGAS CONVENTION CENTER.
SIMON submitted several reports YESTERDAY (4/12), from the event, including:
* FCC Chairman JULIUS GENACHOWSKI reiterating his support for voluntary incentive auctions of television allocations to free up spectrum for mobile broadband use. GENACHOWSKI, devoting his speech to the issues of spectrum uses and the proposal to have some TV stations voluntarily auction off their bandwidth and share other broadcasters' channels, called broadband "essential" to the economy and repeated his arguments in favor of the voluntary auctions, saying, "It will raise billions of dollars for the Treasury, with serious projections of near $30 billion, that can be put toward deficit reduction and other important uses, like public safety, R&D and broadband connectivity in rural areas.
* NAB Pres./CEO GORDON SMITH touted the NAB's success in derailing a performance royalty bill in Congress. He praised the members of Congress and NAB members who "really came through" and noted, regarding the NAB's offer of a royalty in exchange for a mandate to put FM tuners in cell phones, that, "in the end, the record labels rejected our offer, but the performance tax died as well.
* CBS Pres./CEO LES MOONVES joined SMITH for a chat about the state of the media, and MOONVES said that his enthusiasm for the media ("I'm proud of being a broadcaster. This is the greatest business on Earth") extends to radio. He noted increases in revenues for five quarters in a row, and praised DAN MASON's work as head of CBS RADIO, adding, "We're as bullish about radio as we are about television."
* Some prominent programmers participated in a panel on -- what else -- programming, "Back to the Future 2.0." discussing the past, present, and future of the medium. AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT GROUP's TIM MOORE moderated the panel with THE JOHNS COMPANY's GEORGE JOHNS, ACCURADIO's JOHN GEHRON, BONNEVILLE ST. LOUIS' KEVIN ROBINSON, and MID-WEST FAMILY BROADCASTING's JEN O'BRIEN. The discussion focused on learning lessons from radio's past successes in programming stations today, and changes in approaches to programming, with GEHRON noting that corporate control has removed a local PD's flexibility in handling talent.
* ENVISION RADIO NETWORKS' DANNO WOLKOFF gave a presentation TUESDAY morning on the burgeoning business in "hyper-local" websites, offering tips to radio stations on how to make the new sites work.
* At a TUESDAY afternoon session, FCC Commissioner MEREDITH ATTWELL BAKER said that she sees "a great future for broadband and a great future for broadcast and the two need to come together... we can come into a win-win proposition."
* TUESDAY's sessions closed out with a panel examining the FCC's policies in several areas, including licensing, ownership limits, and other issues. Attorney MELODIE VIRTUE explained the new interference standards for LPFMs, and the FCC's PETER DOYLE noted that rules involving allowing additional stations in states reaching a particular level of density, inserted into the bill by Sen. FRANK LAUTENBERG (D-NJ), only applies to NEW JERSEY. Also addressed are the new allocation rules, which make a rebuttable presumption that service proposed to a new community of license within a particular urbanized area is intended to serve the entire larger market, and changes in the license renewal process for radio.
* Late TUESDAY, the NAB released attendance figures for this year's show, and the number was up from 88,044 last year to 92,708 this year, including 25,691 international attendees from 151 countries and 1,314 news media attendees.