“The NAB has been around nearly as long as broadcasting itself, created with the intent to tell broadcasters’ story and to support their mission,” said association President/CEO Gordon Smith as he opened the annual spring show yesterday. “And that mission is to always be there, to be the voices against oppression…the megaphones for freedom and democracy…and to report the news without fear or favor.”
He celebrated what NAB considers “enormous” wins in its lobbying efforts in the past year; the most recent was securing an additional $1 billion in legislation, passed by Congress, to reimburse television and radio stations for their costs to change channels during the TV spectrum repack, “ensuring viewers and listeners don’t lose access to their stations.”
Another big win was the FCC approved voluntary deployment of the Next Gen TV standard, with the promise of delivering the benefits of ultra-high definition television, interactive features and customizable content to viewers. Two initiatives to establish test markets for Next Gen TV – one in Phoenix, led by Pearl stations, and one in Dallas, led by Sinclair, Nexstar and Univision – are underway. Both plan to be on the air this year.
The willingness of broadcasters to advocate on these issues is critical, Smith said. “When this industry speaks with one voice, these wins demonstrate that it is a powerful voice.
For radio, NAB is conducting the first all-digital FM experiments 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 spectrum. NAB is working with the largest U.S. radio groups to improve the presence, appearance and overall positioning of radio in the dashboard. The association is also working with automakers to find ways to collaborate and enhance the relevance of radio in future cars.