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Apr 18

Buster Smith
4/18/2012 3:04:00 PM 

Experienced NAB Show exhibitors know that you can’t judge the success of a show by the first day. The real test starts Tuesday, and by all accounts (or at least by the visible exhaustion of more than a few vendors at day’s end) it was a busy one indeed. No exhibitor wants to tip his or her hand for the record, but one prominent equipment maker told this reporter the show’s first two days had produced “lots of sales,” which no doubt also meant very good news for all the restaurants up and down and off the Strip benefiting from vendor-client dinners Tuesday night. (If the “central hall bathroom line” metric can be believed, it also points to a busy show.

Shopping for FM transmitters at NAB this year? The biggest buzz this reporter heard so far was all about Nautel’s new NVLT series of compact transmitters, a stripped-down, analog-only version of the established NV series. (That’s “LT” as in “light.”) The new boxes have a simplified front panel and lack the HD Radio capability of the NV transmitters, and they’re already shipping in 3.5, 5, 7.5 and 10 kW models. We also noticed the prominent presence this year of the Italian transmitter maker Elenos, showing off its solid-state models in the Central Hall.

There are polite standing ovations at NAB Show sessions, and then there’s the love Betty White received from the audience at Tuesday morning’s “Breakfast with Betty” event, where the 90-year-old actress was inducted into the NAB’s Television Hall of Fame. White was interviewed by NAB president Gordon Smith, who briefly stumped her with a question about her basketball picks. After a brief pause, Smith recovered by getting in a plug for his alma mater, the Brigham Young University Cougars. If you’re keeping score, that was at least the second high-profile BYU Cougars mention from Smith in as many days: his introduction of FCC chairman Julius Genachowski on Monday noted that Genachowski had attended “the BYU of the East,” aka Harvard. (Genachowski’s renewed emphasis on TV spectrum repacking, unsurprisingly, did not receive Betty White-level acclamation from the audience.)

The two best-kept secrets in the Las Vegas Convention Center this year? One: The shuttle bus that circles the center, making stops in the alley between the North Hall and the Hilt- er, LVH, then continuing around to the South Hall to save savvy LVH guests that long walk to South Hall exhibits and sessions. Your reporter found himself alone on the shuttle several times so far this week. Two (with apologies for another bathroom item): while most of the men’s rooms exude pure 1980s ambiance, the ones at the east end of the North Hall’s second floor (past the meeting rooms on the way to the parking lot bridge) were quietly renovated not long ago in much classier fashion.

Buster Smith covers radio from Reston, Virginia

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