About the Best of Show Awards
by Paul McLane
This spring, Radio World and several of our sibling
publications at NewBay Media announced a new awards program to honor products
introduced at the annual NAB Show. Congratulations to the winners, whose
pictures you’ll find throughout the May 21 issue.
What happens to “Cool Stuff?”
The NewBay Media Best of Show Award replaces several
programs including the Radio World “Cool Stuff,” Radio magazine Pick Hits and
TV Technology STAR Awards.
I know that this approach will represent a cultural
shift for companies and readers who have been accustomed to our way of managing
awards for many years. We worked hard to make the “Cool Stuff” program fair,
and I have a great deal of personal affection for that program; I believe we’ve
carried forward the best of it to the new one.
Which publications gave awards?
Awards at the spring show are given by Radio World,
Radio magazine, TV Technology, Digital Video and Video Edge.
What were the mechanics of
Exhibitors with new products at the show submit one
or more products via a nomination form. Nominations are in written form, up to
750 words, and are due prior to the convention, as is the fee required for
entry. Not all who enter are chosen for awards.
There was no cap on the number of products an
exhibitor could enter, or on the number of publications from which it could
You can read a FAQ and see the actual nomination form
Who chooses winners?
Winners for the Radio World awards are chosen by a
panel of experienced engineers, with editors acting as tiebreakers. The
engineers are given nomination text provided by the exhibitors in advance, and
visit the company booths anonymously during the convention.
benefits to this new approach?
The new system
formalizes a process in an effort to make selection fairer. While our past
awards program was popular and reflected a great deal of planning, the
selection process sometimes did not give equal weight to all companies, due to
the unstructured and volunteer nature of the judging process. International
companies, for example, were less likely to draw attention.
Also, in the past, “Cool Stuff” products were judged
solely on the basis of one booth presentation. At times, I sensed that a
product might not have won simply because the person giving the demo to our
anonymous judge was not fully up to speed on his or her own company’s
A written nomination helps overcome this problem.
Under the new system, companies are able to present their best formal
explanation as to why a given product might deserve an award.
What was the reaction to this
program from companies at the show?
The most common question I heard was: “Will readers
know that companies paid a fee to enter?” It was important to manufacturers —
particularly those that did not enter — that readers be aware of this.
Note that the fee is simply for entry to the program.
It does not guarantee an award; many nominated products were not chosen as
How can the program be improved
in the future?
I’m interested in hearing from readers and
manufacturers with thoughts on this; write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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