Yesterday felt like a bad version of the “Ice Bucket Challenge.” The announcement came like a bolt out of the blue – this year's NAB/RAB Show in Vegas – was forced to cancel.
I was planning on attending. In fact, Paul and I locked down a presentation with the powers-that-be this week – a look at new research we've conducted about the connected car – specifically about the messaging on the touchscreen. Obviously, we're going to have to find a different venue in which to show it to you. That's because none us of will be in Las Vegas next month.
I have mixed feelings about the news. On the one hand, I'm bummed. I wanted to go, we had a lot planned, and I was looking forward to reconnecting with friends and clients. On the other, I was concerned that a Vegas convention was too soon given where we are with the pandemic.
So for “Throwback Thursday” today, I went back to 2017, and a blog post I wrote about the NAB/RAB event set in Austin. With a lot of help from Twitter, I attempted to capture the vibe of that year's show. As you'll read, I presented Jacobs Media's “Dashboard Audit” at this show, commissioned by the NAB. What goes around, comes around.
After yesterday's bombshell, I hope today's old post provides some warm and fuzzy nostalgia. Because it looks like it may be a while before we see each other again. – FJ
Leave it to us to find this great eating spot in south Austin. A taco truck backed up to a great coffee joint and bar. And you have to love the name, right?
Another Radio Show is in the books, and many have already asked me for my “take” on the proceedings. It's virtually impossible to see it all, so I'm relying on a hundred or so “reporters” on Twitter to bring the vibe of radio's biggest event to you.
Austin was a fun choice because of its navigable size, and its rich history of music, food, and drink. The city has become overcrowded because of its unique appeal, but that also means a lot of eateries and bars to choose from, many within walking distance of the JW Marriott where the show was headquartered.
Appropriately, women were often on the center stage. This group of female executives made a strong impression on Radio Show attendees. L-R: NRG's Mary Quass, Hubbard's Ginny Morris, Entercom's Weezie Kramer, Beasley's Caroline Beasley, RAB's Erica Farber. CMG's Kim Guthrie was sensational at the Marconi Awards dinner, giving an emotional shout-out to her four clusters of stations in Irma-ravaged Florida:
— Caroline Beasley (@CarolineBeasl15) September 7, 2017
One of the highlights was David Field's lunchtime speech – an exuberant endorsement for radio from a guy who is rapidly assuming the leadership role in an industry in need of it.
— Entercom (@Entercom) September 7, 2017
Along with AmplifiMedia's Steve Goldstein, I was honored to take the big stage on Wednesday to present the results of an NAB-commissioned dashboard audit. A full ballroom was on hand to gain a better understanding of how radio can improve its in-dash displays to be more competitive with streaming brands and satellite radio. Steve took on the breakthrough topics of podcasting and smart speakers – emerging platforms that provide radio with huge upside opportunities.
— Kim Reis (@KimReis459) September 6, 2017
And it was clear that automotive was a big topic at The Radio Show. The NAB's Sam Matheny moderated a panel featuring industry consultant John Ellis, Xperi's Joe D'Angelo, and Avis Budget's Scott Deaver talking about the future of radio in cars. And then to emphasize the point, the NAB arranged for a well-equipped Ford Fusion on the floor of the Marketplace, demonstrating Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Ford's SmartDeviceLink. Every time I was in vicinity, Ellis and company were conducting dashboard tours as broadcasters experienced new dashboard technology and its impact on radio.
— John Clark (@johnclark) September 6, 2017
Digital sales, distribution, and content creation were omnipresent topics this year. The “Innovation Stage” in the Marketplace was an active space, featuring useful talks and presentations (as well as Austin musicians and bands). Paul Jacobs took on the topic of how radio can extend its brands via digital tools, including apps, smart TVs, and devices like the Amazon Echo. And Seth Resler was on hand – both at RAIN and at the Radio Show – talking about his passion – podcasting.
— Fred Jacobs (@fnjacobs) September 6, 2017
A wide range of topics were covered at the Radio Show, including video production from Alpha Media's Randi P'Pool. And students continued to be a focus throughout the conference, including a great panel featuring Beasley Media's Buzz Knight – “Whose Job Is It Anyway?” – highlighting how Millennials can navigate radio stations.
— Beasley Media Group (@BeasleyMedia) September 6, 2017
The Marconi Award dinner featured morning show host/comedian Ricky Smiley, along with the Austin-flavored tunes of Asleep At The Wheel.
— Mike McVay (@MikeMcVay) September 8, 2017
And many brands spend thousands on promotion and exhibits at the Radio Show. But hands down, the Marconi for best marketing goes to Westwood One's on-site ads that roughly half of attendees saw with great frequency:
— RadioToday Live (@RadioTodayLive) September 6, 2017
And of course, the Radio Show is always chic and fashionable. This year, there seemed to be fewer ties and a more casual look. But that didn't stop the fashionistas from sporting the latest and greatest in handbags, courtesy of Kate Spade New York:
— Haley Jones (@haleyjonester) September 7, 2017
It's impossible to quantify, but I couldn't help but get the feeling that many Radio Show attendees are back in the office today with long “to do lists” that will impact strategies for the coming months – and years. The radio industry did a nice job celebrating its past accomplishments, its present contributions to its communities – highlighted by both Harvey and Irma – as well as taking on an uncertain future that promises both immense challenges and and rich opportunities.
It's truly an amazing time to be in radio.
- The Power of Music Passion - October 21, 2021
- Addressing My Car Radio Paranoia 3: Let's Fix It - October 20, 2021
- Radio's Car Radio Paranoia 2:What If Eric Rhoads Was Right? - October 19, 2021