Will TV Broadcasters Seize the Day?

While the specific agenda of this spring’s confab is still being formulated, it’s already clear that NAB views 2007 as a crossroads of sorts for broadcast television.

American broadcasters today find themselves in the midst of tumultuous media changes that will alter the industry forever. And some of the most ambitious initiatives have been started by local and network broadcasters themselves.

This critical industry juncture will be scrutinized, and perhaps debated, at this year’s Television Management Conference, April 15–17, at NAB2007. NAB perhaps says it best on its Web site regarding this year’s TV Management Conference: “Television’s Next Plateau: Spring Forward or Fall Back?”


The TV industry has traveled a brief period of uncertainty followed by recent repurposing of broadcasting’s valuable content to other media such as computers, cell phones and portable video devices. Now, the industry is in the midst of exploring new and innovative distribution venues to take more effective advantage of the media landscape.

Meanwhile, a second industry priority is underway here in early 2007 to grow local HDTV infrastructure on a market-by-market level to include news and other local content.

Although details are still being finalized, one of the highlights of each year’s NAB TV Management Conference is a nontechnical briefing for general managers and other executives on the latest innovative equipment being offered — especially new digital-centric hardware and software designed to cut costs and help stimulate new advertising revenue streams.

TV broadcasters at NAB2007 also will be reminded that educating their respective viewers to the benefits of the digital era is far from over. While a poll by CBS in January revealed that 30 percent of viewers are now “fully connected” — defined as households with both digital TV connections and Internet broadband — the same poll found another 30 percent have no idea of the pending analog cut-off in February 2009.


Sunday’s sessions begin with “Managing and Leading Change,” which will focus not only on how to deal with change as a manager, but also how to help your staff react to the change. The session is followed by “TV General Manager Briefings.”

Monday’s session “Upload, Download and Overload: 2008 Election Media Strategy” will offer attendees the benefit of knowledge gained during the 2006 elections and how the Internet enabled citizens to become more involved and vocal participants. Journalists, digital media experts, politicos and bloggers will discuss today’s new media environment and its impact on the integrity of the election coverage.

Tuesday offers the sessions “Disruptive Technology” and “Broadcasting 2009 and Beyond: Straight Talk From the Top.”

Complete your convention floor days on Monday and Tuesday evening as you get together with other general managers for the “GM Pizza and Beer Exchange.” Monday’s exchange will focus on multiplatform/multicasting and restructuring station operations. Tuesday’s exchange will focus on the multiplatform/multicasting marketplace and easy solutions for increased revenue.

The TV management sessions also will feature the annual Television Luncheon and this year’s TV inductee to the Broadcasting Hall of Fame, “Meet the Press” from NBC News.

Tim Russert, managing editor of the Sunday morning public affairs institution, is scheduled to be on hand for the induction on Monday. Russert, the show’s longtime moderator and a best-selling author, also serves as Washington bureau chief for NBC News. “Meet the Press” is celebrating its 60th anniversary on air this year — making it the longest-running program of any kind on network television.

Previous Hall of Fame television inductees have included other programs such as “The Tonight Show,” “Saturday Night Live,” “M*A*S*H” and “60 Minutes.”