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Spanning the range of radio products and services

Spanning the range of radio products and services

Sep 1, 2000 12:00 PM, Chriss Scherer, editor

San Francisco probably brings you visions of cable cars, hillystreets and television commercial jingles. Now it can bring you acomplete view of radio. This location continues the NAB’s plan tomove the fall convention around the U.S. In 1998, the convention washeld in Seattle and proved to be a successful location. Last year’sshow in Orlando had disappointing results. Exhibitors and the NABhope that the return to the West Coast will yield a positive showingof attendees and exhibitors.

The NAB Radio Show has a history of targeting managers and programmers.In recent years, an increased focus on engineering interests hasappeared. The Spring convention plays to a wide range of interests,but the Fall show can concentrate strictly on radio’s interests.

Radio’s scope also has grown, and once again the Internet will be ahot topic for exhibitors and attendees. As you walk to the showfloor, you will see that nearly every exhibit has something Internetrelated.

What to see and doThe products on display are a major part of any convention. IBOC DABhas been a regular topic for several years, but now that there is aconsolidated (there’s that word again) effort among the developers,it is hoped that major progress will be seen. This newly formedalliance already has many manufacturers behind it providing productsupport and equipment for the system development. Look for IBOCdemonstrations in several locations throughout the show.

IBOC also will be covered in some of the sessions. The DigitalFacilities Certification Workshop has a segment on IBOC that shouldprove to be very interesting. See page 60 for more on this session.

It seems that there is never enough time to see and do everythingthat you want to at a convention. To help with that, the sessionschedule has several spaces built in for exclusive show-floor hours.If your schedule is tight, this time can help you cover more ground.However, since there are no sessions, more floor traffic will belikely. These exclusive hours may be better spent looking and notingwhere specific exhibitors of interest are located. If a booth is nottoo busy, stop in and start looking. If the booth is busy, a laterreturn visit may be in order.

Online attentionYou won’t be able to take more than a few steps without seeing anInternet application. Hosting and content service companies were verypopular last year and will still have a large showing. These partnercompanies offer stations a way to enhance their Web presence,typically with additional, dynamic content and online shoppingopportunities. There is usually a chance for increased revenue withthese services as well.

Many stations stream their air signal online as well. Streamingcontent is not a new topic (and one that has been covered many timesin BE Radio), but the online stream has become a candidate forgenerating additional station revenue. Simulcasting your stationonline may bring some additional advertisers, but many stations arediscovering that there is no need to give away the commercialinventory that exists online. New technologies in stripping, alsocalled ad insertion, are allowing stations to resell the commercialinventory online.

Development has begun on Internet radio appliances that allow onlinelistening without a dedicated computer. Other companies are workingon devices to make Internet radio a new audio component in the homelistening environment. These typically involve a method to send theaudio stream to a listener’s home stereo system or throughout theentire house so that the Internet is another audio source to joinCDs, tapes and terrestrial radio.

Off the floorAs I mentioned earlier, the history of the Radio Show being targetedfor programmers and managers is being rewritten. Engineering is now astrong focus as well. In some sessions, the particular interest isobvious to the target audience. In other sessions, the line isblurred and may present something of interest to more than onesegment of your station’s team. The BE Radio staff has surveyed thesessions and chosen a few that should prove interesting. Your ownreasons for attending the Fall show will certainly cover your owninterests, but if possible, take in a session or visit an exhibitorthat offers something outside your usual area of interest.