NAB CEO Gordon Smith Delivers Inaugural State of the Industry Address


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Here is the half-facetious irony: if broadcasting loses spectrum and grandma's new HDTV is rendered useless, at least she will have the consolation of knowing her grandson can get lewd material instantaneously on his cell phone.

To put it simply, this spectrum reallocation is bad for consumers and bad for broadcasters. It's not voluntary as originally advertised. Both broadcast and broadband are agents of change.

Technological and market conditions permit broadcast television to thrive alongside expanded broadband. Broadcasters will work to ensure that broadband gaps are addressed, but we'll also work to make sure that free and local television are available to everyone.

Now, let's turn to another issue of substantial importance to our organization: the continuing battle over retransmission consent rights for broadcasters.

NAB has taken the lead with our network partners to ensure that policymakers understand that the fair and market-based retransmission consent process is working just as Congress intended.

The reality is this: broadcasters create the most compelling and most popular programming on television. Our programming provides real value to our pay TV partners, and we deserve fair compensation for providing cable and satellite viewers with programs like The Olympics, The Super Bowl, "American Idol" and "Lost."

But pay TV doesn't want to compensate us - despite the fact that our content is the backbone of every pay TV package sold. And can you believe this? Cable representatives are now trying to position themselves as consumer friendly on Capitol Hill. That's right - the cable guy as the consumer advocate! Folks, you just can't make this stuff up.

Through aggressive advocacy at the commission and on the Hill, NAB is committed to ensuring that broadcasters can continue our legacy of service to the American public. No matter what others may say, understand this: Broadcasting is a cornerstone of our democracy. Consider presidential debates, the coverage of natural disasters and other emergency information like Amber Alerts and the local news.

We are America's free, local broadcasters. And we serve our communities each and every day. This is our greatest strength and our enduring value.

Broadcasting is evolving right before our eyes, and we have the incredible opportunity to shape its path.

And while I am new to this job, I am not new to the issues this industry faces. I am not new to the values it represents.

The values that underpin broadcasting are still essential to the American people and to our democracy. What broadcasters do for a living is also something they do for this country.

And so, in closing, let me quote Teddy Roosevelt who said, "Far and away, the best prize life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing."

Ladies and gentlemen, the work of the National Association of Broadcasters is worth doing, and we must do it together --- united. We need you to help us advocate for this great industry, not just in Washington, but all across America.

Let us realize the power of broadcasting and our impact on the American public. Let us continue educating, informing and entertaining our local communities. Let us embrace the digital future and all of its great opportunities.

I am very proud to be part of this industry, and I will work my heart out for you.

Thank you very much.



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