NAB Board Considers Tech Lab and Talks Spectrum Strategy

WASHINGTON: The National Association of Broadcasters board of directors met this week for its regularly scheduled fall board meeting. Among other things, the joint TV-and-radio board was asked to consider creating a new NAB Lab, “intended to cultivate and establish thought leaders and push the limits of technology to enhance the broadcast industry,” according to the released minutes of the meeting.

NAB Chief Technology Officer Kevin Gage delivered the proposal. The Lab would incorporate the NAB FASTROAD program and provide a technology showcase and research funding.

“It would also provide a platform for innovation, a venue for forging partnerships and testing new technology, as well as an education component to create awareness about over-the-air radio and television technology initiatives,” the minutes said. Further organizational and funding details are said to be forthcoming.

NAB chief Gordon Smith apprised the TV board of the spectrum intrigue on Capitol Hill and “NAB efforts to ensure contour protections for broadcasters that choose not to participate in incentive auctions.” The auctions are said to be voluntary, but thus far, no broadcasters have stepped forward to volunteer spectrum. Should they do so, the auctions will trigger a channel repacking, which in turn will cause problems with stations with contours along the U.S.-Canadian border. Gage presented the NAB’s analysis of the impact of a repacking plan.

Other issues on the docket included retransmission consent, “rogue websites,” video description and closed captioning, the Commercial Advertising Loudness Mitigation Act, and the November nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System.

We await word from the NAB about the rogue website issue.

~ Deborah D. McAdams, Television Broadcast