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A Call to Gather Young Minds

Commentary: Tap the Intellectual resources of the next generation at the NAB Show

Gather in one place the brightest young minds in radio and TV to interface with their counterparts to envision the future of broadcasting.

The time is overdue for broadcasting’s next generation, ages 30 years and under, to be provided with a platform to develop new ideas. Bring them together with their peers in all new media in an environment where no concept is out of bounds.

The annual NAB Show is the natural venue for executing this idea.

Common challenges

Broadcasting’s future leadership must be united with colleagues from the worlds of wireless, Internet, open-source software, crowdsourcing and social networking platforms.

Such an idea and information exchange would be enormously rewarding to a generation of broadcasters that understand and currently participate in the new world order of communications technology.

Participants would return to their respective radio and television stations with renewed enthusiasm for our industry and empowerment to take the lead in driving a renaissance in broadcasting.

The radio and television industries have many common challenges and it is important that everyone in broadcasting gather in one place to exchange resources, technology, cutting-edge concepts and most importantly, to participate in a dialogue with those in communications who are advancing concepts, content and technological change at lightning speed.

A combined radio and television convention would have greater resources to bring these individuals and organizations together.

Selected participants could engage separately by industry and in joint sessions to hear and meet the most progressive minds to focus on change, direction and strategic planning.

Forums could be created, comprising young broadcasters, placing them in an environment aided by professional facilitators where ideas for revitalizing broadcast media would spring forth.

Prior to the event, participants in teams could be challenged with developing new business plans and pitching their ideas live, in front of an audience of their peers and mentors at the convention. The team with the best business plan would be provided $25,000 in seed money by the National Association of Broadcasters to begin that game-changing venture.

The program should be organized with the help of outside planning resources to provide the structure for meaningful progress. MBA programs such as those at Wharton, Harvard, NYU and Northwestern in addition to the nation’s top communications schools could be an important source in structuring such a program within the framework of the NAB convention. The aforementioned would participate in the judging and awarding of rewards.

The NAB has the staff and resources to organize such a forum within its annual convention. The association can develop a next-generation participant selection process within its membership and reach outside the broadcasting industry to the young achievers working in all other communications platforms. All participants should be invited guests with all costs paid by the NAB.

The benefits of a next-generation conclave would result in far-reaching and permanent solutions to current challenges and provide a roadmap for those who in fact will be entrusted with the future of broadcasting. Such a program may well become a permanent center point of the annual NAB Show.

Gordon Hastings is president/CEO of consulting firm ghhManagement LLP, former president of both Katz Radio and Katz Television and the founder and former president/CEO of the Broadcasters Foundation of America. Contact him at[email protected].