NAB Show On Tuesday: Betty White, Donny Osmond, Bob Uecker, And Regulation Talk
All Access Music Group
April 17, 2012
BETTY WHITE was the honoree as the NAB SHOW opened TUESDAY's activities in LAS VEGAS with her induction into its Broadcasting Hall of Fame. NAB Pres./CEO GORDON SMITH interviewed the legendary actress on topics like her favorite roles (Rose on "THE GOLDEN GIRLS" and Sue Ann Nivens on "THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW") and her current NBC prank show.
After that chat, ABC's "NIGHTLINE" host TERRY MORAN hosted a session on the 2012 election and social media with DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA's MANDY JENKINS, CNN's SHANNON TRAVIS, YOUTUBE's OLIVIA MA, CBS NEWS RADIO's HARVEY NAGLER, and UNIVISION anchor SATCHA PRETTO, starting with each panelist's choice for news first thing in the morning (three chose TWITTER, MA stayed loyal to her company with GOOGLE News, and NAGLER flew the flag for radio) and continuing with discussions of "citizen journalists" and TWITTER's role in covering events like the Syrian conflict, whether TWITTER is "good for AMERICA," in MORAN's words, in how it is used to disseminate news and opinion and drives conversation, and how to use social media to engage viewers and listeners.
Lawyers, Experts Weigh In On Regulatory Issues
The FCC's WILLIAM LAKE and BIA/KELSEY's MARK FRATRIK joined attorneys ROSEMARY HAROLD and JOAN STEWART in a forum looking at FCC regulatory issues. The move to put political files from television stations online, cross-ownership and television duopolies, the controversial proposal for local television issues programming disclosure on a standardized form, the status of the indecency cases at the Supreme Court and the rationales for regulation of content (pervasiveness and scarcity, and the fear that the court will replace those with the notion that licensees trade some First Amendment rights for the right to broadcast), license renewals, retransmission consent, and voluntary television auctions were among the topics covered in the panel. VIRTUE also explained the changes in low power FM and FM translator rules, with FRATRIK stressing the advantages of using FM translators to simulcast AMs and HD2 or HD3 channels.
Radio Luncheon: Donny Osmond Speaks, Bob Uecker Honored
DONNY OSMOND gave a keynote address celebrating radio and relating a lesson learned from appearing on HOWARD STERN's show: "Be Yourself." OSMOND told stories from his career, including his encounters with PAUL MCCARTNEY, and discussed being "real" on the air and the need to pay attention to detail. "You're all in radio," he said. "Make it the best you can."
Longtime MILWAUKEE BREWERS radio voice BOB UECKER was inducted into the NAB's Broadcasting Hall of Fame at the luncheon. UECKER gave a joke-filled acceptance speech peppered with his signature self-deprecating wit ("I was paid a lot of money by Rawlings... to never be seen using their equipment"), taking a moment to laud baseball on the radio and to thank hos family and the BREWERS ownership for coming to the event.
Clyburn, McDowell Discuss Media Ownership Review Progress
FCC Commissioners MIGNON CLYBURN and ROBERT MCDOWELL were joined by CAROLINE BEASLEY and SCHURZ COMMUNICATIONS' MARCI BURDICK for a "conversation" about pressing regulatory issues moderated by the NAB's CHRIS ORNELAS.
ORNELAS raised the issue of radio chips in smartphones, stressing that the NAB is not advocating a legislative or regulatory answer but noting that European phones carry activated radio chips but American cell phones don't have activated chips. BEASLEY said that radio chips in cell phones would be "efficient" in emergencies, and insisted that the government "has a fiduciary duty to citizens of the UNITED STATES" to insist on active radio chips in cell phones. MCDOWELL said that he doesn't think that the FCC has the authority to mandate it, and consumers are demanding that phones be thinner with less real estate for additional chips; nevertheless, he said that the Commission could bring the parties together for a "marketplace solution."
At the outset, MCDOWELL joked that his greatest accomplishment was "getting appointed, and then getting re-appointed," then discussed the success of the digital television transition and his hopes that the quadrennial (now, he said, the "sextennial") review of media ownership rules will be completed this year. CLYBURN cited media ownership as her key issue as well as the Commission's move to get additional data on local news programming through a request for quotes for independent research on the issue.
BURDICK told broadcasters who wish to engage the FCC to "just do it" rather than wait for the NAB to reach out on their behalf. "Make yourselves available" to tell the industry's story of adapting to the new media landscape, BURDICK advised, giving an example of a TV station that used its digital subchannel, the Web, and the station's app to cover a severe weather emergency. "There's no app for that unless we do it," BURDICK said. BEASLEY offered that stations should "engage with the commissioners the way we engage with our business partners."
Returning to the media ownership proceeding, in which the NAB filed its comments TODAY (4/17), CLYBURN said that the Commission had "not been passive in our engagement" in the docket, holding several workshops and enhancing data collection with revised forms. MCDOWELL said that "the slant of the 1996 Act... is to deregulate in this space once there is more competition in this marketplace." He also said that the newspaper-cross-ownership ban "sticks in my craw" and wondered why one could distribute information in various ways but once it's on paper, rules banning cross-ownership come into play. "That, I would like to see largely done away with," he said, adding that he hopes the result of the rules review has a "deregulatory flavor."
BEASLEY agreed that she would like to see the ownership rules be eliminated but gave a slim chance to that actually happening, with BURDICK also echoing that sentiment and adding that Chairman JULIUS GENACHOWSKI's "common sense" credo should "trickle into the ownership (review)." She noted that the Commission considers the fast move of content to IP delivery when it considers spectrum issues but not when it comes to broadcast ownership. CLYBURN said that she thinks the agency will take those factors into consideration but said that she will need to weigh all data before making a decision, stressing the diversity issue.
Asked by ORNELAS whether the diversity problem is an access-to-capital issue, CLYBURN responded that she is encouraged by opportunities like sharing broadcast television digital subchannels with minority operators, while MCDOWELL noted the opportunities for minorities in new media "where the dollars and eyeballs are going."
The panel also discussed the proposal that television stations post political files online, with MCDOWELL joking that he would reveal a secret: "if you want to know where all the political ad money will be spent, it's FLORIDA and OHIO." He said that Congress, rather than imposing the online political file rule to address the issue of corporate and union political spending, should focus on "the spenders of that money, not just one of several recipients of that money." BURDICK was also critical of the law, doing a "poll" of the audience to see how many stations had anyone come in off the street with no affiliation with a campaign to look at the political public file (two) and offering that there are better and less intrusive ways of disseminating the information. When CLYBURN said she was open for further engagement on the issue, MCDOWELL interjected to joke, "So am I. So you got 2/3 of the FCC right here."
On low-power FM and translators, MCDOWELL cited the FCC's PETER DOYLE for enabling agreement on the resulting rulemaking and joked that once the Commission is stripped of all but its essence, "you have PETER DOYLE."
Other topics on the table included spectrum auctions (MCDOWELL felt it will take "the better part of a decade") and the future of media (CLYBURN said that broadcasting "will always be in the mix" and new media will be "complimentary" (adding "I'm sure all of it will still be here"); MCDOWELL said that the the FCC "can't predict the future" and should be careful not to adopt policies that could "snuff out" development, but himself predicted that wireless would be the primary medium).
Beer, Pretzels, Legal Advice
A late afternoon panel moderated by RUBBER CITY RADIO/AKRON's ED ESPOSITO offered free regulatory advice for broadcast news from a panel of experts, with the added attraction of beer, soda, and soft pretzels (but no mustard).
The FCC's Media Bureau Chef, Audio Division PETER DOYLE discussed changes in required radio filings, including the new advertising non-discrimination certification requirement and changes to the rules governing silent stations. DOYLE's Video Division counterpart BARBARA KREISMAN ran through her department's new renewal process, while attorney KATHLEEN KIRBY offered license renewal tips and attorney RICHARD ZARAGOZA talked about a change in public file rules that will consider remedial measures after failing an inspection due to missing issues/programs lists as "mitigating factors" at renewal time (previously, disclosure of public file deficiencies led to fines regardless of subsequent remedial measures).
While KREISMAN outlined the possible introduction of political file online requirements for television, when ESPOSITO asked when such a requirement would come to radio, DOYLE responded, "I don't know. I'm just glad to be the caboose on this train."
The panel also discussed the possibility of more detailed requirements for issues/programs disclosure, with the threat of government-designated favored categories of programming drawing criticism from the attorneys, and sponsorship identification rules, with an emphasis on video news releases. On indecency, the talk addressed the uncertainty with renewal applications being held up, in some cases for years even after a subsequent renewal application is due, until the Supreme Court makes its ruling. The ownership rules review came up in the context to television's shared services agreements, which evolved from sales and back-office operations to programming agreements in the vein of radio's LMAs; KREISMAN said that SSAs will be approved if they fit precedent but will go into review if they don't. DOYLE reviewed the new directives for low power FMs and translators and the challenges of trying to determine licensing opportunities under the new interference standards.