Tuesday, April 12, Las Vegas
HERE’S THE PLAN
Julius Genachowski, the chairman of the FCC, generously gave of his time to speak over breakfast to a full house of NAB attendees. The food was watery scrambled eggs and the message was no more pleasant: just give up your spectrum (and your worthless broadcast businesses) already so that we can move on to broadband nirvana for everyone. Under a single wireless carrier that will offer a competitive and market-based future.
Mr. Genachowski is clearly brilliant and a pleasant enough speaker. I would not want to debate him. He has already studied everything and knows all the facts and answers. He will even tell you why your arguments are worthless. Before you have a chance to state them.
In contrast to years past, the Message from the Chairman was a one-sided affair. There was no cozy interview with politely worded questions from the NAB. Nor was there any opportunity for the audience to ask questions- microphones were not provided. The tone of the event was “here’s what you need to do for us.” For some reason the applause at the end of the speech seemed less than enthusiastic. I sense Mr. Chairman is playing with a tiger that is just beginning to wake up.
I’m not the first to say it but the feeling on the show floor began well and is getting more upbeat as the show continues. I had one exhibitor tell me this was their best show ever. It’s a welcome change from the last two NAB’s which at times had a grim feeling to them. Our industry is beginning to swing back from a down cycle and the good feelings are contagious.
Need more proof? Here’s my informal Happy Hour metric to consider. Starting around 5:00P every day, various exhibitors roll out ice barrels filled with cold beer. Trays of tasty appetizers soon follow. While most affairs are for invitees, no one is taking names and if I were so inclined I could make a pretty good bar crawl, winding my way from the South Halls and back to the Hilton. Where I would find a line of models giving away free shots of aged scotch. Not to mention a number of hospitality booths in full swing by early evening.
Shades of NAB past? I think so, and I’ll raise my glass in a toast to that.
Michael LeClair is the Technical Editor of Radio World Engineering Extra.