Smith: Ubiquity Has Changed Its Meaning
many themes of the recent NAB Show was the future of radio in the new media
landscape. NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith touched on that in a keynote address,
Where do you want your businesses
to be in 5 years? In 10 years? In 20 years?
A recent Wall Street
Journal article had the headline “Don’t Look Now: A Car That Tweets.” The
article said that Ford already allows drivers to send and receive Tweets,
stream Internet music and access podcasts. And soon, drivers of other vehicles
will be able to check Facebook and buy movie tickets.
How does radio fit
into this scenario — what do we see as radio’s future — is it streaming or over
the air, or both?
believe streaming is the future. Others believe it does not grow the bottom
line — that stations should focus on bringing in more traditional revenues.Are you feeling pressure to jump into streaming?Perhaps you are sensitive to criticism that if radio
doesn’t get into streaming, you will be left behind or seen as resistant to
© NAB Show
Only you know the
right answer for your business, but whatever path radio decides to take, NAB
will be there to advocate on your behalf to help ensure a robust future for
many decades to come. …
I have always heard broadcasting
described as ubiquitous. But ubiquity yesterday meant a radio being on the
dashboard, in the kitchen and on the nightstand. Ubiquity meant a television in
every living room — these days, almost every room in the house. But ubiquity
tomorrow must mean broadcasting’s availability to all people at all times in
all places and on all devices. The current broadcasting model can be undone by
technology, or government, or some unintended consequence from either.
It says in the book of
Proverbs, “Without a vision, the people perish.” I genuinely believe if we have
clear-headed thinking and proper vision, our business will continue to prosper.
And I have no doubt about what that vision is: to educate, inform and entertain
viewers and listeners through our one to many transmission — again, to all people,
at any time and on every device.
The wireless industry
wants to replicate what we do. In fact, they are developing their own mobile-TV
network; but they say they need more spectrum. And they could get what they
want, pending approval from the government. …
the problem: Even with all the spectrum in the universe, the wireless industry’s
“one-to-one” architecture could never match our ability to broadcast voice and
video to the masses.Broadband can never replicate
the lifeline role of the local broadcaster. Broadcasters are always on, always
there when you need them. Especially in an emergency. …
[E]ven today, broadcast radio and TV are where the ears and eyeballs
are. After all, more than 241 million people listen to free radio every week.
an era of Pandora and Spotify, local radio is by far the number one source for
new music.And this is just using our existing business model.
Radio has new
opportunities including on mobile phones.This is a
standard feature on cell phones in Europe and Asia.
Many phones in the U.S. already
have this capability, but the carriers don’t make that known and may refuse to
activate the chip. Why?
because they have a vested interest in charging consumers with fees for data
streaming.But given the certain failure of mobile phones in a
lifeline situation, we’re hopeful that over time, carriers will come to
understand and appreciate the importance of having an activated radio tuner in
these devices, and to off load their ever congested airwaves. …
But despite the tired claims of
our misguided critics, broadcasting is a robust business. Both radio and TV
have cycled out of the worst advertising recession in history. Yes, there are
challenges, but broadcast revenues remain strong and growing. And the future is
evolving onto new platforms. And it’s not just on mobile phones. We also need
to be on tablets, laptops and game consoles and on mobile devices not yet
developed. We expect our newly-launched NAB Labs will be at the forefront of
this initiative to push the limits of broadcasting.
We will provide a
platform for innovation and for testing new technology.Our adversaries would like people to believe that the
best days of broadcasting are over. We will prove them wrong.
the full transcript at radioworld.com/May-09-2012.
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