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Broadcasting the Gospel

NASHVILLE, TENN. As the National Religious Broadcasters gathers for its annual convention here next month, attendees will have a wide range of issues and concerns on their plate—from anticipating the effects of a new administration in Washington to the forthcoming DTV transition.

While these topics are expected to take center stage at NRB 2009—which takes place at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, Feb. 7-10—the organization will also focus on its overriding theme: exploring ways to use the best media techniques and technology to spread the gospel.

EXHIBITION

With more than 300 vendors exhibiting their wares this year, the NRB exhibit hall will the ideal place to check out new developments and technologies, search for the best items for your purposes, and even negotiate pricing and delivery of your planned purchases.

Many broadcast industry giants will be there with a full range of their products, including Sony Electronics, Nvision, Panasonic Broadcast and Ross Video, just to name a few.

If it's not antennas, transmitters, cameras or mics that you're shopping for this year, there are plenty of program production and suppliers represented on the exhibit floor too—LeSEA Broadcasting, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 615 Music, along with many more familiar names, services and products.

The exhibit floor will open at noon on Sunday, Feb. 8. In addition to equipment comparison shopping, test driving and hands-on demonstrations, attendees can also register to win prizes being offered in drawings conducted by some of the exhibitors. Also, look for authors, musicians and other personalities to be on hand to personally autograph pictures, books and albums purchased at the show.

TECH LAB

Returning to the NRB convention this year for another "command performance" is the NRB Tech Lab. The 2009 show marks the fifth straight year that attendees have been able to get hands-on experience with some of the newest and best in audio and video technologies.

The Tech Lab is now a staple at the show and offers convention-goers the opportunity for actual test drives and side-by-side comparisons of equipment from leading manufacturers.

More than 300 exhibitors from technology to education and travel will fill the exhibit floor at NRB 2009. The three-day event is geared to the needs of anyone who's active in or just considering audio and video production work. It features everything from microphones and HD cameras to the latest editing systems and display technologies.

And it's not just an assemblage of equipment spread out in a user-friendly format; the Tech Lab also includes Q&A panel discussions, training sessions and a chance to network with some of the most respected personnel in broadcast ministries.

San Diego-based systems integrator TV Magic Inc. is the technology consultant for this year's Tech Lab.

REACH KEYNOTES

A series of "Reach Keynotes" taking place Saturday through Monday will also be among the show's highlights. Pastor Kerry Shook will deliver Saturday's Reach Keynote address at 11:00 a.m. Shook has brought his own distinctive look and energy to millions as senior pastor of Fellowship of the Woodlands, just north of Houston, where average attendance each Sunday is about 15,600.

Shook engages his congregation with a dynamic style, unafraid to do whatever it takes on stage to hold his audience's attention and deliver a lesson. At his Saturday keynote, Shook said he won't try to teach a lesson on teamwork with pro motocross racers, as he has before. But he does guarantee some surprises.

"There will be a visual teaching," he says. "It's so important in this day and age that we communicate visually."

POLICY

On the policy front, two of America's top lawyers will do battle on the most important legal and cultural issues facing Christian communicators of the day.

On Tuesday, Feb. 10 at 10:30 a.m., the Policy Breakfast will feature Nadine Strossen, former longtime president of the American Civil Liberties Union, across the table from Kenneth Starr, a former solicitor general of the United States best known as Independent Counsel in the Whitewater and sex-scandal case against then-president Bill Clinton.

The two will have plenty to discuss, with the uncertainty of an Obama FCC ahead and a key broadcast indecency case before the Supreme Court, among other issues. The debate will be moderated by NRB Senior Vice President and General Counsel Craig Parshall.

EDUCATION

Top-notch educational sessions will target a broad audience of radio/television and Internet broadcasters.

On Monday, Feb. 9, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., "Low Cost for High Stakes: News Makes A Difference," will be moderated by Sam Wagner, president of Video I-D Teleproductions and feature Stan Jeter, senior producer and editor, David Brody, senior national correspondent and Chris Mitchell, Middle East bureau chief, all with CBN News.

The session will address the many issues involved in creating and operating a news operation, including tips on tailoring news presentations for your community of service; where to obtain video actualities for national and international stories; as well as the presentation of stories that will earn lasting appreciation from your viewing audience.

Running concurrently, the session, "The Missing Dimension of Television Ministry," will address a big issue outside of the usual production values and techniques necessary for a successful broadcast mission. This is the donor response process.

Attendees will learn how to properly respond to their audiences, and in the process create strong and lasting donor relationships and maximize the impact of their ministries.

Although the National Religious Broadcasters Convention has a serious purpose with a serious audience, there's plenty of room for levity as well.

On Sunday at 8 p.m., Ken Davis, comedian and host of "Lighten Up!," heard on 1,500 radio stations across America, will present "Comedy Tonight."

Davis says comedy flourishes during tough times. "My message will probably be designed to show a reason for joy in the midst of difficulty, even in the midst of what we're going through," he said. "It's important not to lose sight of what's most true and most important."

IN CLOSING

The show will wrap up on Tuesday evening with a Closing Banquet featuring Dr. Charles Stanley, president of In Touch Ministries, and a senior pastor at the First Baptist Church in Atlanta.

With 50 years of ministry experience, Dr. Stanley's "In Touch" radio and television program has been translated into more than 100 languages.

To register for NRB, visit www.nrbconvention.org.