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Rehr Goal: Reinvent the Station Business Model

An upbeat NAB President and CEO David Rehr gave broadcasters a glimpse into a positive future for the sector during his State of the Industry Address at Monday morning’s Opening General Session.

Though business and the popular press have delivered eulogies for radio, Rehr said NAB’s recent branding study on radio shows that the medium remains relevant.

“The first thing we learned: nearly everyone said they rely heavily on radio for the information and entertainment they want or need every day.”

“Our model is not broken,” he continued, pointing to Arbitron data, which shows radio’s audience has actually grown over the past year by 3 million listeners to 235 million. At last fall’s Radio Show NAB launched Radio 2020 to help guide the industry as it approaches the centennial mark for radio broadcasting.


On the television front, Rehr said his address might be his last chance to talk to TV broadcasters before the Feb. 17, 2009, shutdown of analog broadcasting and the new digital TV future begins. “One door closes ... but another opens.”

He described the tremendous opportunities DTV brings, and the fact that television stations and networks are leading the digital revolution. Among the possibilities on the horizon is an estimated $2 billion in additional ad revenue from mobile video, forecast an hour earlier at the OMVC breakfast.

“This is an opportunity to reinvent our business, but we can’t accomplish change without hope and a renewed spirit.”

Longtime CBS Radio and Television newsman Charles Osgood was awarded NAB’s Distinguished Service Award for his significant and lasting contributions to the broadcasting industry.

Osgood noted that he has set his alarm for 2:30 a.m. for many years in order to arrive at work in time to craft and deliver his “Osgood Files” segments for CBS Radio, and that each time the alarm goes off he cannot believe it has actually happened. He said that same kind of disbelief came to mind when told he was joining the other distinguished luminaries who have received the same award.

In his thank you response, Osgood delivered a five-minute address written in the style of Dr. Seuss, ending with “Fellow broadcasters, our fates are not in the stars, but in ourselves.”

The presentation to Osgood was followed by a colorful speech by Tim Robbins. ©2008 NAB