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April 07, 2014

NAB's Gordon Smith Calls for New Broadcast Standard to "Compete in a Mobile World"

NAB president and CEO Gordon kicked off this year's 2014 NAB Show with a call for the development of a new transmission standard that would bring television to more devices. Everybody Loves Raymond, Jorge Ramos honored during day 1 sessions.  

Juliana J. Bolden
  • NAB president Gordon Smith and Univision CEO Haim Saban at the 2014 NAB Show

  • CBS' Everybody Loves Raymond family at the show's NAB Hall of Fame induction

  • Esteemed Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos accepts NAB's Distinguished Service Award

  • Pat Griffis (Dolby Laboratories), Wendy Aylsworth (Warner Bros.), Elizabeth Daley (USC School of Cinematic Arts), Barbara Lange (SMPTE) and Dave Schunelle (Dolby Laboratories) at NAB's Technology Summit on Cinema

  • Primetime Emmy-winning media technology veteran Chris Cookson delivers the keynote at NAB's Technology Summit on Cinema

National Association of Broadcasters president/CEO Gordon Smith kicked off day 1 of the 2014 NAB Show in Las Vegas today, calling for a new broadcast transmission standard that would bring television to more platforms and open up more revenue streams for the industry.

“From hybrid FM radio, mobile TV and ultra HD, we are experiencing exciting developments in broadcasting,” Smith told hundreds of opening session attendees.

Moving to a new standard, Smith proposed, would allow television stations the “flexibility and efficiency they need to innovate, to better serve their viewers and to compete in a mobile world.”

Smith further explored this prospect in a spirited, though pointed conversation with Univision CEO Haim Saban, who issued his own “marching orders” to industry members responsible for developing this new signal: “Make it freakin’ happen.”

The two also vowed to press the Federal Communications Commission for more equitable parameters for the broadband and broadcast industries.  

Smith asserted that the federal government has held an increasingly singular focus on broadband, spending millions of dollars and significant FCC time on a National Broadband Plan, a roadmap for investment and innovation for the cable and wireless industries.

Yet, the commission continues “regulate broadcasters as if the world is stuck in the 1970s,” he said.

“Why doesn't the FCC have a National Broadcast Plan?” Smith asked. “Why is there no focus to foster innovation and investment in broadcasting to ensure our business continues to be a world leader alongside our broadband industries?”

He suggested that rather than addressing only station ownership rules and sharing agreements, the FCC should thoroughly assess whether assess whether those rules achieve our broadcast goals at all and determine how broadcasting can continue to be competitive and serve the public interest.

“For example, from a public safety perspective,” he continued, “what enhanced role can broadcasters play?”

Smith noted that local television and radio stations are often the only available means of communication during disaster situations.

“As former FCC Chairman Mark Fowler noted in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, broadcasting kept more than 8 million people safe and informed during Hurricane Sandy,” Smith observed. 

“Broadband can't do that."

Saban also joined Smith in bestowing the Distinguished Serve Award upon 8-time, Emmy-winning news anchor Jorge Ramos of Noticiero Univision during the session.  

Smith later presided over the induction of Ray Romano and his Everybody Loves Raymond co-stars into the NAB Hall of Fame, along with series creator Phil Rosenthal.

More of the big conversations shaping this year’s confab revolve around consumer 4K adoption, stepping up cloud-based media workflow and further development of integrated second screen technology. 

Over 90,000 members of broadcast and digital media communities have packed into the Las Vegas Convention Center for the 2014 NAB Show, which continues through April 10. 


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