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At the NAB Show Opening

NAB can produce a good show when it wants to and this one was meant to impress.

Monday, April 11, Las Vegas

For a change I decided to attend the NAB Show Opening, a big production event with well over a thousand attendees from all backgrounds. NAB can produce a good show when it wants to and this one was meant to impress.

New NAB President Gordon Smith seems to handle this kind of thing very well-just the right amount of upbeat and welcome. Given the many important regulatory challenges that the broadcasting industry faces he might be just the right type to guide the NAB through a difficult course.

And I have to admit it I felt more than a touch of nostalgia to see Eddie Fritts honored with a Distinguished Service Award. It seemed like old times to have Fritts on stage, talking in an earnest way about his belief in the broadcast industry and the current dangers we face. In my opinion he sees more clearly than most the existential threat to free over-the-air broadcast that is posed by current plans to carve out 500 MHz for broadband wireless.

It struck me again today just what an improvement it has been to consolidate the radio and pro audio exhibitors together in the Central Hall. From the first minute after the exhibits opened the radio hall was full and bursting with people taking a serious look at new equipment. Sure to be hot at the very least are replacement or upgraded EAS systems-only five months remain until the deadline.

In contrast, wandering around the North Hall I saw so many booths where a small cluster of salespeople were quietly talking, only taking a quick glance to see if a passing person might be a potential customer.

So where were all the North Hall customers? Over at the Harris booth of course. Harris had visitors galore and their booth resembles a small city in size, including a cordoned off café area for serious talks. With new radio transmission products (including what has to be the smallest 20 kW FM transmitter today) Harris had lots of attention.

Until tomorrow.

Michael LeClair is the Technical Editor of Radio World Engineering Extra.