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NAB2001: Something for Everyone

Whether you’re an engineer, supplier, manager, jock or student, the workshops, sessions and keynotes at the upcoming NAB2001 convention in Las Vegas April 21-26 probably include something of interest.

IBOC concerns? Check.

Streaming questions? Check.

Networking opportunities? Check.

Management tactics? Check.

Regulatory issues? Check.

Whether you’re an engineer, supplier, manager, jock or student, the workshops, sessions and keynotes at the upcoming NAB2001 convention in Las Vegas April 21-26 probably include something of interest.

Here’s a peek at the show’s major events and themes.

Issues from the transition to digital and broadband to programming and satellite radio updates will be discussed during the six-day event.

Conference tracks include Radio Management, Broadcast Engineering, Business Law and Regulation, RAB Sales and Marketing, and Satellite and Telecommunications.

“We think of this as the greatest technology show on earth,” said Dennis Wharton, NAB senior vice president of corporate communications.

Super Sessions

“We’re going to have several Super Sessions dealing with a variety of technical issues,” said John Marino, NAB vice president of science and technology. “One of those issues is broadband technologies and how they might affect traditional radio broadcasting.”

According to Marino, some of the new and pending wireless technologies might eventually be useful to broadcasters as another platform for delivering broadcasts.

The Super Session “Broadband – The Dawning of a New Era in Communications” is scheduled for April 24 from 9 a.m. to noon in The Venetian. WorldCom Vice Chairman John Sidgmore will present the opening keynote.

Another Super Session is called “Interactive Lifestyles – Personalizing the Net” to be held from 2 to 6 p.m., also on April 24 in The Venetian.

“We’re going to be talking a little about personalizing the Internet,” said Marino. “We’ll have some research delivered on how consumers interact with the Internet and what they traditionally would be looking for on the Net.”

Marino said session organizers would like to tie in what broadcasters envision the Internet becoming for them.

“Will it be a revenue-generating platform?” he asked. “By coupling this consumer research with what we know about broadcasting, we hope to generate some ideas on how broadcasters can generate revenue from the Internet.”

Creating new revenue streams is not the only opportunity allowed by the Internet, according to Wharton.

“The Internet is changing the way many companies do business,” he said. “It also offers a lot of opportunities for enhancing service to listeners.”

Other Super Sessions include “Communications and the Net in the New Economy: Who Will Tie It All Together” and “Media on the Net – From Small Streams to a Sea of Revenue?” at which Lou Dobbs, chair and CEO of will deliver the keynote and Peggy Miles, president, Intervox Communications, will serve as a sub-session moderator.

On the floor

Upwards of 115,000 people are expected at this year’s show. More than 27,000 of those attendees are from abroad.

Booth space has increased – according to Wharton, approximately 1,600 vendors will be on the floor, compared to about 1,500 at last year’s NAB. Booths and demonstrations will be spread out over 1 million-plus square feet of exhibit space.

“We have seven different exhibit areas this year,” said Wharton. “Satellite and telecom companies; TV, video and film vendors; the Internet streaming exhibit area; Multimedia World, made up of 145 exhibitors; E-Topia – these are new-to-market companies and comprise all segments of exhibiting companies, but these (E-Topia) are some of the new ones; the radio/audio exhibit area; and the final area is called Mobile Media, made up of companies that specialize in antennas and vehicle production systems.”

Technical trends, including the latest IBOC DAB developments, will be discussed at several conference sessions.

“We’re trying to educate radio broadcasters, particularly engineers, on what they have to do to implement this technology if, in fact, it rolls out over the next few years,” said Marino.

With engineering jobs dwindling, does the number of engineering attendees drop as well?

According to Jeff Littlejohn, vice president of engineering services for supergroup Clear Channel Radio Inc., more of the company’s engineers will attend.

“We’ll have about 80 engineers at this show,” said Littlejohn. “While that’s more than last year, you have to take into account that our company is a little larger than last year as well.”

Widget gadget

Littlejohn favors hitting the floor and seeing new products.

“While I like to see what new stuff the established vendors have out there, I also like to go to the booths that nobody has ever heard of. Some company that makes some widget gadget that makes your life a little easier.”

The Radio Opening Reception is set for April 22 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the Las Vegas Convention Center. This is a good time to connect with colleagues to set appointment dates.

NAB President and CEO Eddie Fritts will deliver a State of the Industry address at the “All Industry Opening” on April 23 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Jack Valenti, chair and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, will deliver the opening keynote address.

The MultiMedia World Keynote will be held April 23 from 5 to 6 p.m. at The Venetian featuring Yahoo! President and COO Jeffrey Mallett.

The FCC Chairman’s Breakfast, always a large draw, is set for April 24 from 7:30 to 8:45 a.m. at the Las Vegas Hilton. Wake up to remarks from new FCC Chair Michael Powell as he lays out his agenda. His legacy of pro-deregulation could mean changes for our industry.

The Radio Luncheon slated for April 24 from 12:15 to 1:45 p.m. at the Las Vegas Hilton Barron Room offers broadcasters a look at some radio greats, such as Bruce “Cousin Brucie” Morrow, Mort Crim and the 10 winners of the NAB Crystal Radio Awards, honoring an exemplary commitment to community service.

Morrow, the legendary WCBS(FM) talent, will be inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Crim, chair and CEO of Mort Crim Communications and creator of radio’s “Second Thoughts” daily motivational series, is slated as the keynote speaker at the luncheon.

Vinton Cerf, better known as the “father of the Internet,” will keynote the Technology Luncheon on April 25 from noon to 1:45 p.m. at the Las Vegas Hilton Barron Room. Cerf will offer a look into the future of technology. The NAB2001 Engineering Achievement Awards for Radio and Television will be presented during the luncheon. Belar Electronics Laboratory President Arno Meyer will pick up the honor for radio.

Managers and recruiters will be on hand at the NAB-BEA Broadcast Career Fair on April 22 from noon to 5 p.m. At press time, the LVCC room number had yet to be announced.

Beyond the official agenda, many organizations hold their own events in Las Vegas to coincide with the convention.

For instance, the National Association of Gay & Lesbian Broadcasters will hold its annual dinner at an area restaurant on April 24 at 6:30 p.m. The price is $20 and will be collected at the door. For information, send e-mail to [email protected]

If you would like to include your own event in our pre-show coverage of upcoming conventions, send e-mail to [email protected]