Les is More: NAB Radio Show

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I got to see Les Moonves speak and it was well worth the price of admission.  Of course, I didn’t pay anything and apparently I infiltrated the NAB security to do so (though I didn’t know it at the time) but like I said, totally worth it.  Actually I ain’t trying to be snarky, Les did and said exactly what Les was supposed to do and say in a setting such as the NAB Radio Show.  He said CBS is awesome.  He said streaming isn’t all that and a bag of chips.  He said Money is awesome and they want to make more of it.  He said Content is King.  He said artists are STUPID for thinking they deserve performance royalties.  Next time they air the Grammy’s and some completely unknown hippie folk singer sees a 5000% sales boost the very next day, Les will send her a bill for his royalties.  He also said he is rich as all hell without using those exact words.  He also seems to like “The Fan” in NYC a lot.  He did agree with Gordon Smith that Radio should be on Smartphones but not in such a way that it would appear CBS is putting all their eggs in that basket.  Les was cool as S#!t which was in no way a surprise to me.  The part of the Keynote that I found interesting was Gordon Smith’s speech.

Radios in Phones:

I don’t want to wax political or anything as I am not educated on every facet of this issue but the NAB via Gordon Smith, comes off as a little weak with the whole “Hey you big cellular companies, you put radio in your phones or….or…else” argument.  I think radios should be in every phone.  My issue is the NAB seems like they have two tactics.  First they tried the strong-arm and get bills pushed through that force them.  While that hasn’t been easy they now are changing their language to a much more happy, “can’t we all just get along?” type thing.

The position I understand is this:

NAB to Cell Companies – Since the radios are already in most smart phones (70% or so) why don’t you just turn them on?  Don’t think about the fact that some (maybe a lot) of your data usage comes from streaming radio stations and when people no longer have to use that data to stream said stations they will stop paying you as much money each month.  Don’t think about that.

Think about the public service you will be doing by making your users happy with and extra feature on their phone, free radio which is now free, again.  So, when weather goes bad and people are about to die they can more easily turn on the radio and get what may be the only source of information in “end of days” scenarios.  It would be cool for all the people who don’t even own a real radio to have access to this last bastion of information so…you know…they don’t die.

So in summation try not to dwell on the money you lose, but think of the lives you will save.

That’s the basic position and potentially a good one.  Except for the fact that we are a capitalist society and there is nothing to force a company to do something that will knowingly lose itself money…except maybe laws or a way to make MORE money.  Which brings us back to the whole “Be friends with them(whine about it)” or “strong arm them” part of this.  Maybe there are other ways to show financial value or upside to turning on those radios? Perhaps there are other strategies we as an industry could employ?  I think often big entities get locked into these battles and are UNWILLING to see that there may be a second, third, fourth or fifth way to go about this.  “Why would we discus this, we already decided to get a law passed or cry about it.  There is no other way.”

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