REHR DELIVERS OPENING KEYNOTE
AT THE NAB RADIO SHOW
AUSTIN, TX -- NAB President and CEO
David K. Rehr delivered the opening keynote address at the 2008 NAB Radio Show
in Austin today. Below is a transcript of his prepared remarks.
* * *
great to see all of you here.
know that Radio broadcasting is at a very critical juncture.
before has our business faced so many challenges - a rapidly changing media
landscape that makes us feel unsure and unbalanced, turbulent economic
conditions that impact our bottom lines, and regulatory and legislative hurdles
that threaten the way we conduct our business.
a tough world that radio broadcasters are operating in today. But there's a
greater issue that I want to address that's, frankly, more troubling.
fact, I believe it's something that could possibly jeopardize the future of this
entire business. I'm talking about the negativity that's pervading the radio
business and threatens to paralyze us.
not surprising that some of you may be feeling this pessimism. It's like a dark
cloud hanging over our heads. And we feel bombarded by negative - and often
false - messages about radio that reinforce these feelings.
that radio is obsolete, that it's not adapting fast enough to the digital age.
We hear that listenership and revenues are declining. We hear that people don't
value radio as they once did. But what we're not hearing enough are the stories
of radio's successes.
there are many.
connects, informs and inspires an estimated 235 million listeners each week. And
what we rarely hear is that number is up 3 million listeners from last year.
That's a vast universe that we are touching.
want to share a clip with you, that may send you back a few
song, "Video Killed the Radio Star," was released in 1979. And it captured what
many people were feeling at the time about radio.
Throughout the years, some people thought radio would fade
eight track tapes, then cassettes, then music videos and CDs - every time
innovation occurred, the end of radio was predicted. But this song was released
almost 30 years ago, and radio is still strong.
Millions of people listen to the radio every single day. People spend
more time with radio than on the Internet and reading newspapers. There is an
exciting world of opportunity before us. It is the beginning of a new era for
many of you have already started to embrace the possibilities. But in order for
us to move forward and build a successful future we cannot continue to operate
as we have in the past. We must stop listening to the negativity and false
messages, many of which come from our own people. And we must commit to
spreading the positive news about radio.
if we don't, we leave a vacuum to be filled by our critics and the negativity
that's invading our business will continue to spread like a virus -- infecting
result of this negativity?
stagnation of the industry and the devaluing of your business. If you can't
believe in radio… if you can't believe in all the possibilities and imagine a
brighter future, then how can we expect our people - our listeners, our
advertisers and our customers - to believe in this great medium?
now, radio needs people who believe. And I hope everyone in this room is a
believer. We need people who are bold and who will take charge of leading us
into the future.
you have said to me that this industry needs leadership that to move forward,
someone has to step up -- radio's corporate CEOs, big group executives, small
market owners… that someone else needs to go first and all of us will then
follow. That we need to let another person take the risk and all of us will
wait, assess and explain why it will or won't work.
thinking is a prescription for defeat. Instead, each and everyone one of us must
be a leader. We can't wait for others.
and everyone one of us who believes in radio must support each other and our
efforts to move this business forward. We all know there are many reasons to
believe in radio.
technology is opening exciting doors for us. There has been more innovation in
radio in the past five years than in the past 50. We've invested millions of
dollars in new technology - HD radio and new delivery devices, and we've made
huge strides toward improving the quality and diversity of content. We're
undertaking an effort to increase the number of FM radio receivers in cell phone
fact, a recent NAB study shows this platform could reach an additional 260
million consumers. Let me say that again -- 260 million consumers - there's
great opportunity for us to seize.
area for growth is HD Radio.
stations are harnessing the power of the latest digital technology to deliver
content with superior sound quality and more programming choices. More than
1,700 stations around the country are broadcasting in digital - with the ability
to reach over 200 million listeners.
working with the HD Digital Radio Alliance to educate the public, manufacturers
and the auto industry about the possibilities of HD. We're targeting auto makers
and dealers with the message that your car is not "fully equipped" unless it
includes an HD Radio.
taken the "fully equipped" message to the auto shows in Detroit, New York and
Los Angeles. We've launched an aggressive outdoor marketing campaign, using
billboards to grab the attention of auto manufacturers driving to and from work
in Detroit - and they're listening.
are amazing possibilities with HD Radio, including more niche channels than ever
before - from Latin fusion to underground rock to a psychic
also bringing a whole new generation to radio through the iPhone. We're thrilled
that the latest iPhone has radio applications, giving consumers a taste of the
best that radio has to offer. In fact, AOL Radio powered by CBS is one of the
most downloaded applications for the iPhone.
Apple stores, the iPod radio attachment has been one of the best-selling extras
since its debut. People want to use their iPods to access the ultimate playlist…
Starting yesterday, every Microsoft Zune portable media player will let
consumers wirelessly download or stream millions of songs on the go. Zune owners
will have the ability to tag and purchase songs directly from the
Internet streaming is another area of growth, with more than 4,200
stations already streaming their signals online. And others would like to do it,
if it makes economic sense.
why NAB has been working to address the outrageous Copyright Royalty Board
decision that dramatically increases streaming rates. The Internet is also
presenting a new world of revenue possibilities, which we have yet to take full
recent study shows that Web revenues barely account for 2 percent of total
company revenues for most radio stations. And yet, all media local online
revenues are growing at a phenomenal rate of 50 percent this year. And radio
should get its fair share.
to invest in our future. That's why we're exploring new opportunities for radio
through our technology advocacy program, FASTROAD. This program is playing a key
role in exploring, developing and accelerating the adoption of new broadcast
technologies and NAB is proud to be at the forefront of new radio technology
looking to the future of radio, which brings me to another reason to be excited
- the Radio Heard Here campaign.
entire industry has united behind an initiative we've put in motion to reignite
the passion for radio. One year ago at this very show, we launched a major
effort to reinvigorate radio.
initiative - Radio 2020 - represents our clear vision as an industry for radio's
future. In April, we launched the consumer phase of Radio 2020 - called Radio
Heard Here. Think of this as radio's version of "Got Milk" or "Beef, it's what's
iconic campaigns were put in motion because people needed to be reminded of the
value of these important products that are too often taken for
Radio Heard Here, we're going to change consumers' and advertisers' perception
about radio's future.
advertising, with radio, print and online ads, and branding available for
stations across the country to use.
- Public relations
efforts, targeting the industry, trade and mainstream media and other key
- Outreach to
industry and trade partners, educating agencies and universities on how to write
and place effective radio ads.
- And a
communications component, involving videos produced for YouTube, MySpace and
others - starring you - radio's biggest fans.
launched a great Web site for consumers at RadioHeardHere.com, where they can
learn more about radio, find the most played songs, see new innovations and
listen to great radio commercials.
month, each station received talking points and an insider's guide containing
everything you need to share about radio's bright future.
received a print advertising kit and most importantly, you will soon receive
radio spots that remind listeners why they fell in love with this great
listen to one now.
tested these spots, listeners loved them - especially younger listeners. So far
the response to this campaign has been extremely positive. We are arming you
with the facts and good news about radio, and we need your help to spread the
word about radio's bright future.
have to remember four things about radio, remember these:
Radio reaches everyone - 93 percent of Americans listen each
Radio is driving technology. With 1,700 HD stations on the air, more than 4,200
stations streaming online and 13 percent of cell phones now radio
Radio offers more choices than ever before. In the last ten years, format
variety increased in the top 100 markets. And HD is offering immense opportunity
for new and more innovative formats. And it's free.
Radio is resilient and growing. Radio's audience has grown 15 percent since
1994. In a time of more media choices in the history of the world, radio is
retaining and adding listeners.
to repeat these great things about radio with everyone we know. Together, we are
going to reinvigorate this great business and make radio new
also being aggressive on your behalf in Washington. Here are just a few
highlights of where we stand.
let's talk about the performance tax. Early in the debate the record labels told
Congress this was a performance "right" for artists.
have been successful in making policymakers understand what this is really about
- a tax on local radio stations that would benefit foreign-owned record labels.
The chorus of lawmakers recognizing the immense promotional value provided by
local radio airplay grows louder with each passing day.
have the support of 226 members of the House of Representatives - the majority -
on the Local Radio Freedom Act - the anti-performance tax
that to the number of cosponsors on the other side - 19. And we have provided
members of Congress and their staff data demonstrating how local radio airplay
generates sales for artists and labels.
released a study that suggests the radio industry provides anywhere from $1.5 to
$2.4 billion in free promotional value to the artists and their labels each
year. And it doesn't even include the billions generated in our promotion of
concerts, live events and other venues.
Momentum is on our side.
must keep the pressure on and continue to mobilize around this issue. This will
be a multi-year effort by the record labels.
will be hard fought.
Second, let's talk about the FCC's misguided attempt
at imposing so-called localism regulations on us. Despite having jettisoned
these old localism rules in the eighties, the FCC is now proposing to bring them
recently, we've seen how broadcasters have prepared for and covered the recent
tropical storms and hurricanes that have hit the gulf and east
applaud the Texas broadcasters for their commitment to covering Hurricane Ike.
You are a lifeline to your communities, providing them with lifesaving emergency
and relief information. We thank you for what you do every day to serve your
listeners and viewers and for the lives you save.
Witnessing all that broadcasters do shows how localism requirements are
unnecessary, oppressive and built on an outdated regulatory
Requirements, like the 24/7 manning of broadcast facilities and
mandating a main studio in the city of license, ignore the realities of the
broadcasting business and technology. In fact, these requirements would have the
opposite effect on broadcasters' efforts to serve their local communities,
especially small market radio.
Collectively, broadcasters are the number one provider of public
service. And we don't need the government to step in to tell us how. NAB is
driving that message home in Washington each and every day.
give a few examples.
- We filed
extensive comments with the FCC.
- Broadcasters and
their public service partners are telling the FCC the many ways they're serving
- To date, 161
members of Congress have written to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, ranging from
expressing significant concern to outright opposition.
got the U.S. Chamber of Commerce involved on our side.
there will be more to come.
event on Capitol Hill in July, we unveiled the 2008 National Report on
Broadcasters' Community Service, featuring a new Web site -
site highlights state and national statistics and stories recounting
broadcasters' unrivalled public service. We won't let down our guard in this
fight. And with your help, we will be successful.
engaged in more issues than ever before, and we're on the
and gentlemen, now is the time for us to embrace technology and seize all the
amazing opportunities it presents. And we can't let this moment
join together as leaders and put aside our personal agendas, we will build a
successful and vibrant future for radio.
Roosevelt once said, "It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points
out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done
better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face
is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives
us must be that man or woman in the arena. We must ignore our detractors and we
must be persistent in our cause. We must unite behind consistent messages and
relentlessly work to spread the positive news about radio. And though we will
occasionally face setbacks, we must keep our eye on tomorrow.
fight back the temptation to look to the past and doubt what's new. Let us
instead look forward with optimism. Let us stand together in the arena. With
courage, conviction and belief we will create an unstoppable