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 submission?
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 seek consideration.
You can read a FAQ and see the actual nomination form here: http://goo.gl/wEk0PH.
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.
What are 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 equipment.
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 winners.
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.