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The Radio Show Opens

Registration desk activity brisk, no disruptions

As the Radio Show opens today in Chicago, Unite Here, a service-workers union is picketing the show Hyatt and in three other cities. However the strike over working conditions is expected to end soon.

NAB and RAB had said early in the week they did not expect the protests to disrupt the show, and so far, that appears to be the case.

Attendees can easily bypass the picketers as radio executives and engineers walk between the different Hyatt towers and so can those coming to the Hyatt from nearby overflow hotels Hard Rock and Hotel 71.

Activity was brisk at the registration desk Tuesday, before the show began. Attendance was around 1,800 at last year’s show in Washington, DC; a spokesperson for NAB told Radio World pre-registration is pacing ahead of last year’s event.

As the show gets underway, there’s been back and forth between CTIA-The Wireless Association, the cellphone association, and NAB over integrating and enabling FM chips in handsets. A wireless industry association representative stated on a blog this week that NAB is exaggerating the cellphone network problems during the recent East Coast earthquake and Hurricane Irene, saying the networks were overloaded but still working.

“Broadcasters welcome a debate on whether broadcasting is more reliable in times of crisis than cellphone networks, which is why NAB supports voluntary activation of radio chips in cellphones,” said NAB EVP Communications Dennis Wharton. “Broadcasters take seriously our role as first informer in times of crisis, and our ‘one-to-everyone’ transmission system makes local radio and TV stations the gold standard in delivering a reliable signal in lifeline situations”

There will be a cellphone showcase highlighting the issue at the show. We wrote last week that iBiquity has several things planned at the show involving its newest feature, Artist Experience, which is the synching of digital audio and images.

Also at the show, Quu is taking the wraps off a technology that it’s calling “Advertiser Experience.” Developed with Jump2Go, the technology enables radio advertisers to extend their reach – visually—to listeners on RDS and HD-equipped radios. At its booth, Quu will demonstrate how listeners can “see” advertiser images and messages on RDS and HD-equipped radios with its content management system that helps stations rotate promos during music, jock talk or ad time, as they see fit.

Beasley Broadcast Group said it will be the first radio group to integrate the Advertiser Experience.

— Leslie Stimson