NAB CEO Gordon Smith Delivers Keynote Address at 2011 NAB Show


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Let me add something else to Eddie's premise.

This new advancement called broadcasting is technologically astute, because it uses much less spectrum to reach more people. The axiom of its existence is that its signal goes from one to everyone...rather than one to one as cell phones do. So, in terms of spectrum use, it is a much more efficient technology. Technologically agile, beneficial to the community and free - so what's not to like?

Well, the so-called "new media" for its own purposes would have people and policymakers believe broadcasting is still living in the Howdy Doody era.

So, as they say, we have issues. And let me begin with the one that most threatens broadcasting in the coming year.

At NAB, we're not worried about technology - we're excited about the digital world that is re-inventing broadcasting. We're not worried about revenues - broadcasting has bounced back from the worst recession in history.

But we worry about those who would damage our business. And about government in a rush, or over-reaching - that, we worry about.

Less than two years ago, broadcasters gave up more than 25 percent of TV spectrum and spent $15 billion transitioning from analog to digital television. That was our cost of leaving Howdy Doody analog and moving to high definition and multi-channel digital. We embraced this digital future so that we could offer dazzling HD programs and multicasting; so we could offer consumers more choices and deliver content on different platforms, such as sending video to smartphones, tablets and laptops.

We spent these billions because we knew we needed to remain relevant to new generations, who expect to get their content on the go. Now, less than two years later, wireless companies want ANOTHER 40 percent of TV spectrum.

Hey...we already gave at the office! So we are in full battle mode to protect broadcasters from being forced to give up spectrum involuntarily.

If a station simply can't make it and it volunteers to sell its spectrum, that's fine - as long as it doesn't harm another station that wants to stay in business and is excited about the future. The problem is that what is voluntary for the former could become involuntary for the latter. It concerns us that the FCC could forcibly relocate a broadcaster, crowd channels closer together, reduce their coverage, destroy innovation for viewers, increase interference, or otherwise degrade their signal.

This endangers our digital future, and violates President Obama's promise to prevent a world of digital haves and have-nots.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is not enough spectrum in the universe to replace our one-to-many broadcast system to a one-to-one transmission architecture. Even the wireless companies themselves concede they will need to eventually use some of their spectrum in a broadcast-type architecture, specifically for sending mass appeal video content to smartphones.

Broadcasting already has the architecture, and it's worked for more than 60 years. What sense does it make to take spectrum that is being used efficiently and use it less efficiently?

Is that a public good?

--Continued on page 3



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