The NAB Show Daily News spoke with NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith shortly before the start of the 2019 NAB Show about how the show embraces technological advances affecting the future of media, entertainment and technology.
NAB SHOW DAILY NEWS: How does this year’s theme—“Every Story Starts Here”—reflect what attendees can expect to experience at the show?
GORDON SMITH: NAB Show has something for professionals involved in all aspects of modern-day audio and visual storytelling. Whether it’s exploring the latest technological advancements or hearing about innovative breakthroughs, NAB Show is the premiere destination for content creators, producers and distributors to discover how they’ll shape their next stories.
The theme also applies to attendees’ opportunity to work on their personal story at the convention. NAB Show offers career enhancement with hands-on training, networking sessions and continuing education programming.
DAILY: What new aspects of the show should excite attendees?
SMITH: The show floor features four new exhibit areas that focus on advancements in AI and cloud capabilities, next-generation wireless technologies, esports and autonomous vehicles. Likewise, our conference programs are focused on important issues affecting the future of media, entertainment and technology, from Next Gen TV and 5G to podcasting and streaming.
I am also excited about the incredible group of honorees we’ve lined up. From recognizing Alan Alda and Sterling K. Brown for their achievements in television to inducting “FOX NFL SUNDAY” and Cathy Hughes for their pioneering contributions in their fields, this year’s honorees are a special class.
DAILY: How has NAB Show evolved to keep up with a rapidly changing media industry?
SMITH: NAB Show is committed to providing a comprehensive forum in which industry professionals can examine the breakneck pace of innovation in the media. We are always developing new ways to inspire and educate NAB Show attendees, such as creating and modifying show floor destinations and conferences to focus on advances in technology and shifting consumer expectations.
We’ve launched the Product of the Year Awards to recognize the most significant and promising new products and technologies at the convention. The awards will shine a spotlight on the innovations that stand out in the crowd.
We also listen closely to the feedback from exhibitors and attendees to deliver the best experience that meets their needs. The new schedule we announced for the 2020 NAB Show, with the floor open Sunday to Wednesday, reflects our desire to deliver the best value. Shifting the dates provides professionals the opportunity to attend NAB Show outside of the busy work week while aligning with our existing education programs.
DAILY: Back in Washington, what are the main issues NAB and broadcasters will be focusing on this year?
SMITH: NAB is pushing for the expiration of a law that allows satellite TV operators to import out-of-market network programming into certain TV markets. We feel that law has outlived its usefulness.
We continue to oppose any new performance royalty on local radio stations for promotional music airplay. So far, more than 160 lawmakers in the House and Senate have cosponsored a resolution supporting our position.
Broadcasters are also focused on successfully completing the television repack, which involves almost 1,000 full-power TV stations changing frequencies. We are also working to ensure TV stations, translators and LPTVs, and FM radio stations are fairly and adequately compensated for repack-related expenses.
DAILY: What impact does control of Congress split between Democrats in the House and Republicans in the Senate have on radio and television broadcasters?
SMITH: Broadcasters’ issues are non-partisan. We are lucky many Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle appreciate what local broadcasters do for their communities.
A divided Congress certainly slows down the legislative process and makes it less likely any controversial legislation will make it into law. That is good for us because it allows for more checks and balances on legislation that could harm broadcasting.
With a lot of new faces on Capitol Hill this Congress, NAB’s focus the past few months has been to educate lawmakers about how their work affects broadcasters’ day-to-day operations. We have also encouraged our members to meet with their Representatives and Senators and explain the importance of free and local broadcasting.