LAS VEGAS: The NAB Show took off on Monday morning at Las Vegas with a stirring address by David K Rehr, President & CEO, National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). In his third State of the Industry address, Rehr outlined the immediate future roadmap of the broadcast industry that would be characterised by the rejuvenation of Radio and closing the door on analog TV in the US by February 2009 to make way for digital TV.
Said Rehr, “The magic of radio is prevalent even today. Recent surveys have shown with unambiguity that radio is still relevant. In the US, 232 million people listen to radio, and the figure is growing. Radio is not just about being local, it is more about accessibility. There is an emotional touch about radio that is pervasive. The fact is that the business model of radio has not been broken.”
Rehr emphasised that NAB would “reposition radio and make it available on every device that there is. This is part of the Radio Centennial 2020 action plan drawn up by NAB”. He added that radio was a “great equaliser, it cuts across all income groups, and NAB will reinvigorate radio and make it heard like never before”. He held out the promise that radio would never be the same again with the coming of HD (high-definition) Radio, and major auto-makers were already in the process of including HD Radio in cars.
Coming to television, Rehr was emphatic that “door will be closed permanently” on analog TV by February 2009 in the US to make way for digital TV broadcast. “NAB is moving aggressively towards the total introduction of DTV by this cut-off date. We will make DTV available on all devices. Our surveys have shown that mobile TV alone can add an additional $2 billion to the revenues of the television broadcasting industry. While HDTV is the ultimate jewel in the crown, digital TV will bring in an era of unparalleled viewing delight. We have to believe in ourselves and in the future of the broadcast industry to reap the benefits of technology,” Rehr exhorted.
The opening session also saw the NAB Distinguished Service Award being conferred on one of the greatest names in contemporary television and radio broadcasting in the US, Charles Osgood, anchor of CBS News’ ‘Sunday Morning’ and CBS Radio Network’s ‘The Osgood File’. Every week, for 40 years, Osgood has closed his Sunday Morning show with his signature line “I’ll see you on radio”, where his voice is known to millions through his daily news commentary ‘The Osgood File’. Also known as CBS News’ “poet-in-residence”, Osgood has anchored ‘Sunday Morning’, one of television’s highest rated programmes, since 1994, and has been called “one of the last great broadcast writers” by his predecessor on the show, Charles Kuralt.
The opening session was a matter of great pride for India, which figures prominently at this year’s NAB Show with a day-long Supersession scheduled on Wednesday, April 16. NDTV Labs Ltd was one of the three recipients of the prestigious NAB International Broadcast Excellence Award. NDTV Labs bagged the award for developing innovative engineering and software for the broadcast industry. Kanwaljit Singh Bedi of NDTV Labs went up to the podium to receive the award from Rehr.