NAB’s Smith Rejoices As 2018 Convention Opens


LAS VEGAS — In a NAB State of the Industry address delivered Monday (4/9) at the 2018 NAB Show, President/CEO Gordon Smith took pride in how the broadcasting industry’s biggest lobbying organization achieved “five enormous wins” thanks, in large part, to a powerful and unified group of radio and TV broadcast company owners.

Smith opened his remarks by noting how he always looks forward to the NAB Show, “an event that tells the story of broadcasting and its latter-day convergence with broadband and other technologies to deliver the content our communities rely on every day.”

It’s an exciting story, he added, with the Next Gen TV Autonomous Transport giving riders a glimpse into the future of live broadcast television aboard a driverless vehicle just outside the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Speaking of the NAB’s efforts in Washington, he pointed to a quintet of achievements:

The FCC approved voluntary deployment of the Next Gen TV standard, which promises to deliver the benefits of ultra-high definition television, interactive features and customizable content to viewers.

We again fought back attempts by the record labels to tax radio stations simply for promoting and playing the music listeners love to hear.

We prevented a $169 billion tax on advertising that would hurt every broadcast station, as well as small businesses and vital, local jobs.

More, the Commission made significant strides to modernize outdated media ownership rules.

And, most recently, broadcasters were instrumental in securing $1 billion in legislation passed by Congress to reimburse radio and television stations for their costs during the spectrum repacking process, ensuring viewers and listeners don’t lose access to their stations.

These wins did not come by accident or chance, Smith added.

He continued:

They were won because of the willingness of radio and television broadcasters all across the country to advocate on these critical issues.

When this industry speaks with one voice, these wins demonstrate that it is a powerful voice.

So, while appropriate to enjoy a moment of thanksgiving and celebrating, this much we also know – the challenges will keep coming and our cause cannot rest.

Smith then spoke of how the NAB envisions broadcasting’s future, and what it wants that future to be. He said:

What is our vision of broadcasting’s future? I believe our future lies in investing in the innovation that is crucial to our long-term growth, so that we can always be there for our communities… anywhere they are, and always for free.

There is no better or more reliable resource for information during times of crisis than broadcast stations. But, we also recognize that consumers’ media consumption habits are always changing, and we continue to evolve with these changes. We are witnessing an exciting revolution in radio.

Through PILOT, the NAB is conducting the first experiments with all-digital FM radio that could deliver more digital audio channels and data capacity to support autonomous vehicle and connected car infrastructures, providing broadcasters with new uses of their valuable spectrum.

The NAB is also working with the largest U.S. radio groups to improve the presence, appearance and overall positioning of radio on the car dashboard.

Smith also spoke highly of the coming ATSC 3.0 next gen broadcast TV standard, before concluding with a reminder from classic Americana artist Norman Rockwell.

He said:

Some people criticized Rockwell’s work in his time, calling it a Pollyanna view of the world. But, Norman knew what the American people needed and wanted to see, in order to envisio n better lives for themselves. So, he persisted in his work and gave the people shoulders to stand on, enabling them to see the best in themselves in gigantic ways.

He said of his work, “I paint life as I would like it to be.”

We, too, can paint broadcasting as we’d like it to be.

Together, we can make our vision of broadcasting’s bright future a reality.