Were you wondering what the new National Association of Broadcasters President and CEO was thinking while delivering his speech at the NAB Radio Show this past week?
Gordon Smith: It is an honor and a privilege to stand before you as the incoming president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters.
(Thinking: Hmmm…maybe I shouldn’t have jumped at the first offer.)
I’ve been fortunate to meet with many of you and learn more about the challenges you face, and the opportunities that lie before you in this digital age.
(What did I get myself into? ‘Challenges? “Opportunities?’ Who wrote this piece of high school crap?)
It’s both an exciting and a challenging time for the broadcasting business, and I plan on hitting the ground running
as your president and CEO to ensure your voices continue to be heard back in Washington, D.C.
(Did I really just say “hit the ground running?” That’s rule number one in Speechwriting for Dummies. Don't use old clichés from Mad Men scripts.)
As a member of the Senate, I worked across party lines to get legislation passed.
(I just wanted to be on the side that’s winning. What's wrong with that?)
Now, my politics are the interests of the National Association of Broadcasters, which
translates into serving radio and television broadcasters and the American people.
(What do I do now? I'm get paid by the people who are on the side that’s losing.)
Having served on the Senate Commerce Committee, I’m familiar with the issues that
impact America's local broadcasters.
(Whew! Glad I caught myself. I almost said 'America’s local bankers.' They don’t own the groups yet.)
I am also keenly aware of, and amazed by, the public service that you provide to your communities each and every day. In towns big and small, broadcasters provide their communities with national and local news, deliver informational programming, report vital emergency information and offer unparalleled entertainment choices.
(Yep. No doubt about it. I’m back in Washington all right. I'm back to lying through my teeth again.)
(Glue? Ewwww…another Mad Men cliché?)
As broadcasters, you take seriously your responsibility to be a fundamental resource for your local communities and your commitment to providing public service. That is an awesome responsibility.
(I guess this job calls for a lot of lying….er...exaggeration.)
To call oneself a broadcaster, is truly answering to a higher calling.
(Who writes this stuff? Religious zealots?)
It’s knowing you’ve been entrusted with the public’s airwaves, and recognizing that what you report and air impacts the lives of your viewers. You serve your communities in remarkable ways, improving the quality of life and fostering the
principles of localism.
(Localism? The traffic reports I hear on radio report on accidents occuring at intersections that don’t exist!)
And it’s going to be my job to make sure policymakers and the rest of America understand the many ways broadcasters give back to their communities.
(Now, I get the joke about ‘What’s the difference between the NAB and the Liar’s Club?’ ‘Absolutely nothing.’)
America’s local radio and television stations are integral parts of the towns and cities they serve.
(I have to make a note and ask why they never pronounce the names of the suburbs correctly. Is this that newfangled voice-tracking thing I hear those radio guys whispering about?)
Broadcasters’ contributions to their local communities are diverse, enormously valuable and make a major impact on towns and cities all across the country-in large part because each individual station has the latitude to serve their audience’s unique and specific needs.
(Yeah, ask five Cumulus managers if they even know the name of the mayor in their city of license. Cumulus? Or was it Citadel? Or Clear Channel? CBS? It was one of those C companies. Maybe more than one? Maybe all of them?)
But many of the legal and regulatory challenges broadcasters face in Washington, D.C., such as the performance tax and the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act – or SHVERA – can affect your ability to support your communities and innovate to meet the demands of today’s rapidly changing media landscape.
(Make note to speechwriter. This is a radio convention, not a TV convention. These guys never even heard of SHVERA. Is that how you pronounce it?)
As Charles mentioned earlier, you have a dedicated team of professionals working to ensure you are represented in Washington, D.C.
And I can not wait to join them. But as a former senator I know, that it is the commitment from association members – the grassroots strength of NAB – that makes an incredible difference. You must continue to come together to fight for the future of broadcasting.
(If you have to remind someone they have a future do they really have one?)
I want to commit to you, that you also have a new president and CEO who is dedicated to advocating on behalf of all broadcasters and focused on providing the best service
possible to our members.
(From what they told me about this Fumbles guy – I know not to write ten ten-page letters a day and carry around a can of Tab. Beyond that….what am I doing here? Maybe the frozen food business wasn't all that bad after all?)
Too often in Washington, D.C., we’re defined by labels. The label I want to be defined by now is chief advocate for America’s broadcasters.
(That’s what I get for not pre-reading this speech – even though the twenty-four people that prepared it assured me it was okay. Did I just say we shouldn’t be defined by labels followed by me asking to be defined by one? Make note….got to hire some new speechwriters.)
The issues that we face are many, and I know that there are challenges ahead.
But with input from our leadership and our members, we will focus on growing our strengths, improving our weaknesses and always serving as the premier advocate for America’s radio and television stations.
(Make note to destroy all copies of Speechwriting for Dummies.)
One of our great strengths is the value that we provide as free, over-the-air broadcasting. And we must continue to drive the rollout of innovative platforms to deliver your content and demonstrate the great possibilities of radio and television.
(I guess that means I have to cancel my Sirius subscription. I hate doing that. It’ll take forever. They just don't take 'no' for an answer.)
Charles spoke about the Radio Heard Here campaign and building a strong future for radio by embracing new
technologies. And we’re moving forward with these many initiatives like FM capable cell phones, HD Radio and Internet streaming.
(Did I really just say that? I’ve seen some bad campaigns in my life. Like my last Senatorial one. But this?)
These are all very exciting opportunities and it’s really encouraging to see radio come together and innovate in this digital age. And while I know this is a radio crowd, there is also much to look forward to with the advent of digital television. There are many doors opening for television broadcasters with the acceleration and development of mobile digital products and services. It's
amazing to think we will be able to watch live TV anywhere we are. Mobile digital television will transform the way we watch television.
Advances in technology are giving broadcasters opportunities to find better, more innovative ways to deliver the high-quality content and services that local communities expect and deserve. The ability of broadcasters to operate in a marketplace free of unnecessary regulation will only help to accelerate the development of new broadcast technologies.
You will be hearing more from me about these issues in the months ahead, so stay tuned.
(Okay, someone’s not paying attention. I specifically told these NAB idiots to cut the TV lines. These radio people don’t get it. I’m talking rubes…not tubes.)
It is exciting to see that broadcasters have their eyes on the future, and there are strong plans today to build a stronger tomorrow. I know that many of you are trying hard to survive in this challenging economy. I know it hasn’t been easy. But even in these difficult times, you are still there for your communities – always there to assist and provide a lifeline during times of crisis.
That is something you should all be proud of. And that’s one of the many reasons I’m proud to be here standing among you today.
(Damn. This is another line I used when I took over the family frozen food business. At least there I could hire immigrants and keep them part-time. Well, maybe radio could do the same thing? Make note - are there any laws against U.S. stations getting voice trackers from Bangalore?)
This is a strong industry with a bright future. And I am very excited to be a part of it. It is not only an honor to stand here among you – it is also an inspiration. Thank you for having me here today. I look forward to serving as your president and CEO and can’t wait to get started.