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Success Is Ahead, So Let’s Roll

credit: Denise Truscello This article was updated to reflect the opening of the “High Roller.”

The wheel is a powerful symbol in human culture and history, one that has come to symbolize forward motion for a race of people who always seem to have somewhere else to be. Success is ahead if we can just get there; so let’s roll.

That’s why I find the “High Roller” an interesting visual metaphor for changes in our industry, and have put it on the cover of our NAB Show preview issue. The High Roller will grab everyone’s gaze in Las Vegas this year; so now you will be able to nod knowingly and inform your friends.

This is the world’s largest observation wheel, almost exactly as tall as the Washington Monument; it is part of a costly new shopping and entertainment “district” called The LINQ. The wheel’s legs were going up when we were in town last year; now it is finished and just opened.

The ride has 28 glass-enclosed cabins, each of which can hold 40 people; the loop ride takes 30 minutes.

The wheel is not only about a ride but about impact from a distance. It features 2,000 LED lights and changing colors (all-green for St. Pat’s). The photos I’ve seen are striking, even for a town that defines visual candy. The skyline will look different thanks to this big bicycle rim.

Ferris wheels appear to be hot these days, perhaps in part thanks to the London Eye. One opened not long ago in Seattle; another is rising in Maryland, very close to the nation’s capital. The New York Wheel planned on Staten Island would be even taller than the High Roller.

So apparently, what’s perceived as “old” can “become new” again; maybe there’s a lesson for radio in this.

Of course, I should be careful of my metaphors. Long before the TV show came along, the term “wheel of fortune” reminded thinking people that Fate is fickle, and who might be brought high can be brought low again.

Well, I liked the pix anyway.

Our NAB Show tech preview is featured in this issue. See you in Vegas.