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Chriss Scherer Scherer has been the editor of Radio magazine since 1997. His experience in radio includes work as chief engineer at stations in Cleveland (WMMS-FM, WHK-AM, WZJM-FM, WJMO-AM...more

Archive of the Industry Category

So what’s new? (At the NAB Show)

The question I am most asked during the NAB convention is, “What have you seen that’s new?”

This isn’t always an easy question to answer. Frankly, like many past conventions, there isn’t much that’s truly new. There are lots of new products, but for the most part, they are refinements and enhancements to existing ideas. It’s still progress, but it’s incremental.

The Radio magazine Pick Hits, now in their 25th year, will be determined this afternoon by a panel of judges. I have no part in deciding the winners, I only moderate the panel to keep it on task. I have my own picks, but I’ll hold off telling you who they are (or were) until after the Pick Hits meeting. I don’t want to influence the panel in its decision. (This is part of our official rules.)

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NAB by the numbers

Everyone wants to know the attendance figures at the convention. They were released on Tuesday.

Registered attendance: 83,842

I was estimating 85,000. Maybe I should try counting cards in the casino tonight.

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Send in the crowds

Day one of the exhibit floor at the NAB Show. Traffic is light. Monday looked like Wednesdays from years past in the Radio Hall. It’s obvious that attendance is down.

Still, many manufacturers noted that they were pleased with who they saw. No quantity, but quality was high.

We’ll see how day two looks.

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A second honor at the show

I told you that I was named a Fellow of the SBE this morning. This evening I attended another awards event that had several honorees.

LOI International is a PR and marketing firm that works with companies including Myat and VCI Solutions. The company president, Lauren Darr, wanted to recognize the efforts of people who work for broadcast trade publications. With that, she created the Inky Awards.

(The name is a long story, but some info is posted at the LOI Inky’s site.)

The categories recognize those who work in editorial and sales. I was nominated in the category of Excellent Editor, Radio-US. I was nominated with four other radio publication editors. I was pleased to learn this evening that I won the category. Jim Haupstueck of ERI was there to read the nominees and present the award.

One note from one of my nominators reads, “[He] has applied knowledge of the technical aspects of radio, skills in language, and the ability to convey clear ideas and meaning of a subject to provide useful resource to radio broadcast engineers.”

I proud of that statement because I feel that is one of my strengths, and it captures what I try to do with Radio magazine.

I’ll also congratulate my counterpart and associate at Broadcast Engineering magazine who received the Excellent Editor, Television-US award, Editorial Director Brad Dick.

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An honor from my SBE peers

I attended the Society of Broadcast Engineers board of directors meeting this morning. I’m the immediate past president of the SBE, which make me a voting member of the board. One order of business was to approve a nomination for the membership grade of Fellow of the Society.

If you don’t know what that means, the SBE by-laws define a Fellow:

“A member who has rendered conspicuous service, or is recognized as having made valuable contribution to the advancement of broadcast engineering or its allied professions, dissemination of knowledge thereof, the promotion of its application in practice, may be elected a fellow of the Society.”

The board approved the nomination of John Heimerl, the chief enterprise officer of Hampton Roads Educational Telecommunications Association in Norfolk, VA. Congratulations, John.

There was another nomination that was evaluated by the board before the meeting, but was kept confidential by one member of the board. It was kept a secret from me. Why? Because I was nominated.

I was informed near the end of the meeting, and I have to admit that I was very pleased and surprised.

I know many Fellows of the SBE. I have worked with quite a few, including several past presidents. I have learned a great deal from all of them. I now have the honor of being included in their ranks.

Thanks, SBE.

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More ins and outs

I posted some things that I expect to be in and out at the 2009 NAB Show. I’m in Las Vegas now, and after walking around the convention before the exhibits open, I found some items to add.

In
* Interest in technology
I stopped in the SBE Ennes Educational Workshop and saw an interested crowd. The room was not as full as I have seen it in previous years, but there was a decent crowd. And they were all focused on the presentation.

Out
* Broadcast attendees
I said earlier that while the overall attendance will be down (something the NAB admits), the raw number won’t look as bad as it really is. I expect attendees to stay only a few days instead of the entire week.

However, even these numbers may be deceiving. I saw a quote from Dennis Wharton, executive vice president of media relations at the NAB, who echoed the reduced attendance expectation, but he also noted that only 20 percent of the attendees are actually broadcasters. He attributed this to the diversity of the convention now. This leads me to the next out:

* The broadcast focus of the convention
If only 20 percent of the attendees are broadcasters, why is it still called the NAB?

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See you in Las Vegas

If you’re going to the convention, look for me on the show floor. I’ll be the blur in a suit running from booth to booth. You might see me standing still at the SBE membership meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

I’ll try to post during the convention. There will be plenty to observe.

If you see something worth noting, drop a line to me. Or post a reply here. Tell me what you saw at the NAB Show.

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More ins and outs

Looking ahead to the 2009 NAB Show, continued…

In
* PPM
There will be lots of talk about the Portable People Meter. As markets see the roll-out, everyone wants to know more about it. I also expect to see manufacturers looking at ways to monetize it even more.

* EAS
We’re all waiting on FEMA to start the clock for a revised system. We hope it doesn’t get stated too soon. I’m still baffled as to why broadcasters think they have exclusive access to a public warning system. Stations are part of a system, not the system.

* The Ham Reception
Will it ever be out? I doubt it.

* The Radio magazine Pick Hits
Okay, so I’m biased. This marks the 25th year of the Pick Hits. I think it’s safe to say they are in. Way in. Really, really way in.

* Deals, deals, deals
It’s going to look like Vegas of yesterday in some ways. Everyone wants business. Deals on meals, drinks, entertainment and more will be everywhere.

Out

* Lavish parties
No surprise there, I know. I expect to see more invitation-only events for specific customers. There will still be a few bigger events, just look for them.

* EAS
Wait, EAS was on the in list. It’s out, too. Lots of broadcasters are tired of it. It doesn’t always work. It’s a rule-keeping headache. It’s an operator bungle.

* Hanging around after the convention
I know many people take the weekend after the convention to unwind and visit a regional attraction, such as the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Bryce Canyon or Zion National Park. Not so much this year.

What are your ins and outs?

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The Ins and Outs of the NAB Show

The convention is now about 10 days away. What’s going to be hot? What going to be “not”?

Here’s a start:
In
* Suits
I have been told that in general, the attire at the convention follows the trend of the president of the United States. George Bush was a suit man, and the past several years had more suits than casual attire. Bill Clinton was more casual, and the attire reflected that. Barack Obama is a suit man all the way. There’s another reason for the suits, too.

* Resumes
The convention is a great place to job prospect. I’ve done it in the past (many years ago). Looking for a job? Wear a suit.

Out
* Big crowds
I said earlier that while the overall attendance figures will be lower than last year, I don’t expect a huge drop in the raw number. However, I expect more people will spend fewer days in Las Vegas. Instead of a full week, they’ll make it a three-day – or even two-day — vist.

* Swag
The freebies — foam toys and things — have been declining over the past several years. I don’t expect to see too much this year either. Some t-shirts to select clients. I don’t count USB sticks as swag per se; they serve a useful function.

I’ll add more later.

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Copyright? What’s that?

I had to laugh when I saw the latest ongoing dig between the Music First Coalition and the NAB. When the Music First group issues a press release mocking the NAB, it reprinted the lyrics from the Beatles song We Can Work it Out without any attribution to the rights holder or author.

It was a non-commercial use, so it’s not the worst possible offense. Still, for a group so focused on rights and royalties, you think someone would have thought it through.

I first heard about it in a press release from the NAB.

Is this debate coming down to finger-wagging and “Oh yeah?” arguments?

It’s obviously a polarized issue. Terrestrial stations don’t want to pay. I recognize the symbiotic relationship there. As a musician, I also side with the performers: Compensate them for their work.

I look forward to the final resolution.

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