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North American Broadcasters Gather; Pai Keynotes Radio Symposium

Symposium will explore dashboard themes, data attribution and other trends

Radio influencers from around North America will gather Thursday in an NAB conference room here in Washington to talk about the future of radio audio on this continent and across its two long, internal borders.

Ajit Pai, the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, will keynote the “Future of Radio Audio” Symposium, and he’s not the only headliner.

National Association of Broadcasters President/CEO Gordon Smith and Commonwealth Broadcasting President/CEO Steve Newberry will take part, as will executives and technical leaders from the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, Mexico’s industry association CIRT, NPR, Fox Entertainment, BLU Products, Audi of America, BBC Radio, iHeartMedia, Cumulus Media and other major media names.

The event is being held by the North American Broadcasters Association and the NAB. (The radio symposium actually kicks off tonight with a reception at NPR headquarters including facility tours.) It’s being held to coincide with a separate NABA General Assembly meeting being held today, Wednesday. NABA is a non-profit association of broadcasting organizations in Canada, United States and Mexico, part of the World Broadcasting Unions. The U.S. NAB is an associate member.

This will be the third radio symposium since several radio entities within NABA proposed a radio committee in late 2013 to push radio issues more to the forefront. Earlier events were in Toronto and Mexico City. For Pai, this is a return invitation; he was the keynoter of the first symposium two years ago. At the time he urged his colleagues to push for AM reforms and also said he’s not in favor of any kind of FM chip mandate.

Among topics to be discussed during the day-long event Thursday are FM activation in smartphones; dashboard strategies for broadcasters; HD Radio’s role in North America; podcasting and radio; data attribution; and key coming trends.