Broadcasters told to put on a happy face


“It’s not so glum. Everything’s going to be OK,” said Kelsey Grammer as he received an award at the NAB Show and suggested that the directors whose photos had been put up on the big screen ought to smile a bit. Grammer, Bob Newhart and Dianne Sutter were all honored yesterday.

Grammer received the NAB Television Chairman’s Award, not for his successful career as an actor, but for his more recent endeavors as a producer of TV programming. His current shows are “The Game” on The CW and “Medium” on NBC, and “Girlfriends” just completed its final season on The CW. Grammer said he was just fortunate to have an eye for talent and a good story.

Despite the growth of new platforms, Grammer said they don’t have anything without a good story to tell. So he doesn’t see TV being pushed aside. “I think the future of television is very bright indeed,” he insisted.

Bob Newhart was inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame. After his own long career as an entertainer was reviewed in a video, Newhart recalled his previous career. “I really was an accountant. Why would you make that up.” But he started doing comedy on a syndicated radio show, which led to his comedy albums, appearances on hit TV shows and eventually two TV series of his own.

Newhart, of course, told some funny stories, which would not be nearly as interesting to retell in just the written word. One recent anecdote was of standing in line to buy a book and having another customer tell him he looked like Bob Newhart. “I get that a lot,” he said. “Is he still alive?” the man asked. “I think I read somewhere that he is,” Newhart replied.

The NAB Leadership Award was presented to ShootingStar Broadcasting President and CEO Dianne Sutter for her efforts in founding and then heading up the NAB Broadcast Leadership Training (BLT) program for its nine years of existence. The program to prepare minority and female broadcasters to become owners or top executives has graduated 157 participants, of which 23 now own broadcasting stations.

“BLT is and has been a labor of love for me,” said Sutter. She recalled how Bill Clark, who had headed Roy Disney’s Shamrock Broadcasting, had been her mentor. Sutter said she created BLT to assist others who might not be lucky enough to have a Bill Clark as their boss.