New NAB President Gordon Smith Calls for Broadcasters to Stop Reacting Defensively to New Technology

Nov 9, 2009  •  Post A Comment

New NAB President Gordon Smith, in a wide-ranging interview with B&C, said the challenge for broadcasters is that “instead of responding defensively to new technologies, embrace them and help develop them so that the future is one that we shape instead of one to which we are simply responding.”

Asked whether broadcasters are going to be willing and able to give up the digital spectrum the FCC is seeking, he said: “We’ve already given up a lot, and we’ve already spent a lot on the digital transition,” adding, “The spectrum doesn’t have to be wireless. There is a lot of dark wire out there. There is certainly a national interest in getting America wired up to the Internet. There is certainly a public value in that. But that needn’t come at the expense of broadcasting’s opportunity to develop that spectrum as well with mobile TV, high-definition signals and all of the potential business opportunity that is there for broadcasters."

–Elizabeth Jensen


  1. Change is not only good, but necessary. Simple strategies based only on cost cutting have run their course; operational capabilities and staff resources are tight at best leaving little room to innovate and/or improve business models. Moreover, the background and expertise of station personnel are ill suited to understanding and managing the transition to a healthy next generation of local tv. Solutions to date have been developed in many isolated experiments. Little in the way of coordinated efforts have taken place in Local TV outside of ATSC mobile. Accordingly, is it wise to depend on a “one trick” pony to enable a health future for the industry. Frankly given the dynmaics of over the top strategies and the desire of national networks and programmers to do without the local TV station in the distribution chain. While Local TV still delivers the big numbers; many markets have suffered from such significant declines in margins and profitability recently that bring into question the traditional modes of operation.
    In short, broadcasters need to work together. Our primary competitors are no longer the station across the parking lot, but the other tiers of distribution such as MSOs, DTH, IPTV, Mobile and over the top.
    Time is short.

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