In this week’s issue… What we learned at the Radio Show – Halls of Fame induct new members – Saga adds an AM – More HD in Canada
By SCOTT FYBUSH
SAVANNAH, Georgia – Another NAB Radio Show is in the books, and we’re rambling our way home from Orlando, checking out other markets that you’ll see in Tower Site of the Week before long. (And maybe in the next Tower Site Calendar, now that the 2019 version has made its official debut in Orlando – that’s Wheatstone’s Mike Erickson holding the very first copy out in public on the show floor!)
If you weren’t among the many radio folks on the floor at the Hilton last week, here’s a quick taste of what you missed (with more coming in the next few weeks on our Top of the Tower podcast and elsewhere…)
Regulatory – At least a few of our DC lawyer friends expected that the Radio Show might bring news of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on some of the actual AM aspects of “AM revitalization,” in particular some proposals on breaking down what’s left of Class A “clear channel” skywave protection. Commissioner Michael O’Rielly didn’t have anything official to announce at his panel Thursday afternoon, as it turned out, so we keep waiting.
Nor was there any official movement on one of the big discussion topics among owners and brokers in the hallways – the proposal to modify ownership caps to allow an owner to own more than five FM (or AM) stations in a market. O’Rielly told broadcasters he supports the NAB’s proposal to eliminate the AM/FM subcaps and spoke favorably of a proposal to allow broadcast owners to expand their market cap by using “incubator” stations, adding an extra two stations to the current 8-station cap for owners who provide assistance to minority broadcasters.
When and if the cap is lifted or altered, there’s pent-up demand from owners to buy. We heard plenty of talk about deals that could happen…if things change. (And of course our Fybush Media brokerage is ready to help, if and when.)
Technology – The show floor at the Radio Show isn’t huge, but this year’s version included a robust presence from most of the big names in the business and some smaller players, too. Xperi, the parent company of HD Radio, was notably active in one corner this year. There were some new entries in broadcast consoles (Calrec, the English manufacturer of high-end TV audio production boards, had a new radio line, for instance), and some interesting smaller products that might have gotten lost on the larger spring NAB floor. We’ll be featuring some of those here and in the new RadioInsight tech section in the weeks to come….stay tuned!
Programming – There’s a tremendous amount of energy focused on podcast production lately, and that was a running theme of the show, even if nobody could quite figure out why the singer/songwriter Jewel was the star of the big podcasting panel on Wednesday. Can the radio industry adapt its mass-market habits to the much more individualized world of podcast listening?
And it was nice to see an actual radio show emanating from the floor as the syndicated “Bob and Tom Show” (minus the retired Bob) did their thing Wednesday and Thursday morning in the hallway leading in to the show floor. It was nice, too, to see plenty of students in sessions and on the floor learning about radio, including a contingent from our hometown SUNY Brockport, led by longtime educator Warren Kozireski.
The Marconis – Beasley’s WMMR (93.3 Philadelphia) capped its 50th anniversary celebration with a win as “rock station of the year.” Other format honors for NERW-land went to WEEI (93.7 Boston) for sports station and WWPR (105.1 New York) for urban station of the year. Power 105’s Angie Martinez won “major market personality of the year.” William Paterson’s WPSC (88.7 Wayne NJ) took home non-commercial station of the year.
We still have the 2019 Tower Site Calendar in stock — but we barely have 10 left.
This is the last printing for the year, so if you haven’t ordered yours yet, don’t wait. Order it now.
We still have eight copies of The Radio Historian’s 2019 Calendar available, which are now 20% off.
Check them both out in our store!