NAB president Smith keynote: Continued integration of broadcast, broadband points way to future

The wireless industry wants to replicate what broadcasters do, and the industry must respond by having a clear vision for its future, NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith told those attending his opening keynote April 16 at the 2012 NAB Show in Las Vegas.

Smith, who won a victory for TV broadcasters in recently passed spectrum legislation, challenged broadcasters to look to the future and ask themselves where they want their businesses to be.

“I genuinely believe if we have clear-headed thinking and proper vision, our business will continue to prosper,” he said. “And I have no doubt about what that vision is: to educate, inform and entertain viewers and listeners through our one-to-many transmission — again, to all people, at any time and on every device.”

Smith told the audience that the broadcast industry must continue to seek out ways to “integrate the power of broadcasting and broadband to improve the viewer experience." Calling the industry’s adversaries smart, ruthless and well-financed, Smith said wireless competitors are already doing so.

Smith called on the television industry to make an aggressive push to develop and exploit the opportunities presented by ultra-HD technology and mobile. “Delivering live, local and national news, sports and our great shows to viewers on the go — this is where our business is going,” he said.

Telling those in attendance that wireless carriers want to roll out their own mobile-TV service, Smith warned that they are asking the government for more spectrum. “It seems to me that the government could be in the position of picking the wireless industry as the winner and the consumer as the loser,” he said.

Smith said that despite recent passage of legislation authorizing the FCC to conduct voluntary incentive auctions, the broadcast industry must remain vigilant. “Recent press reports quote the telecommunications industry saying the spectrum legislation passed by Congress is only the beginning — a ‘down payment’ of what they’re seeking in terms of access to the airwaves. They want us out of this game,” he said.

The NAB chief told his audience, however, that the greatest challenge is not the FCC, Congress, the Internet, cable TV or wireless carriers. “Our greatest challenge is to have the courage to challenge ourselves,” he said.

The broadcast industry must challenge its existing ways of doing business, look to the future and adapt “to a media marketplace where only the technologically nimble will survive,” he said.