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2017 NAB Show in Retrospect

The Wandering Engineer is lucky enough (or unlucky enough) to be above the line where his jobs require that he attends the “spring show”

I have the greatest respect for the National Association of Broadcasters, and I�m lucky enough (or unlucky enough) to be above the line where my jobs in broadcasting really do require that I go to the �spring show� in Vegas.

Survivors share stories and recount how many �NABs� they have attended � often numbering in the 40s and even 50s.

Broadcasters have always loved Las Vegas. It�s relatively affordable, accessible and show biz-centric We are a risky business with risky careers, meeting in a town that thrives on chance.

�NAB,� the �spring show,� is our job fair and our university. We don�t all have to go. In fact, someone has to stay home to keep the crank on the money machine. Some of us really aren�t pushing the envelope, and we can read about what happens and what was introduced at NAB Show, even if we don�t attend in person.

Sharing this information is a big part of what the industry press contributes (including this rag).

In Las Vegas, I�ll meet Doug and Emily, who put this magazine �to bed� (the press has its own buzz words!) each month, as well as some of the higher-ups in this publishing empire and a few others I rarely see. I have no idea why, but it feels good to see and touch the people I work with all year long, often in PJs at odd hours, in person. I am interested in their story � how they got here, what they believe and how and where they live � in the real world and not just the virtual work place we share.

Broadcasters disagree on more things than they agree on. Somehow, the NAB comes to a consensus to do what it does � represent us to the regulatory and real world and organize this show. It�s a nearly impossible task. A small world of politics in and of itself.

I often disagree with NAB�s positions, but never the purpose. Truth is, the minority is often right, and often the majority will come around in time. I�ve been to NAB�s offices �there are no crystal balls, just a lot of work done by a lot of staff and even more volunteers.


Then there was the rather belated rebranding of the Broadcast Engineering Conference to recognize that �information technology� is a tool we broadcast engineers use.

If the NAB BEC conference had been the �Broadcast Engineering and Ionic Tube Conference,� then changing the name to the �Broadcast Engineering & Information Technology Conference� would make eminent sense.

But it wasn�t, and it doesn�t.

In a way, it�s demeaning to think we now need �IT� inserted into the conference name or we would somehow forget that IT is a key part of our daily jobs � something we and every other business and person on earth use every day. We are not just another IT application.

Also, this year, the NAB (and oddly enough, PBS at their �Techcon�) put their session info on an app and website that, unlike years past, did not display the speaker, topic, abstract and bio all together in the traditional grid. What was a beautifully comprehensive picture became a disjointed interactive pain point. We make our conference assessments looking at all of the information�who, what, when, where, why.

Looking through the key hole of our devices, thumbing left and right and up and down is like trying to perceive an elephant one square foot at a time. The app and the new tiny paper-saving pamphlet were not helpful. The seats on the plane to NAB Show might be getting tighter, the baggage and peanuts a luxury charge, but not having a complete program grid is removing the engine or the wings from the BEC.

Hopefully, these lessons can be applied next Year.