NAB’s Rehr Opens on a Bullish Note

By Arthur Greenwald

An energetic David Rehr took center stage at the 2009 NAB Show to welcome attendees and to deliver an upbeat summary of the NAB’s recent efforts along with optimistic forecasts for broadcasting’s economic future.

Acknowledging the current fiscal downturn, Rehr emphasized that all American industries were hard hit by the economy but few “are as well-positioned to succeed as we are,” citing recent innovations in radio technology and increased viewership for television.

“In the 2007-08 television season, broadcast content accounted for 488 of the top 500 programs watched in prime time. That’s a 98% market share.”

Regarding radio innovations, Rehr praised breakthroughs in HD radio and touted successful negotiations to persuade cell phone carriers to include FM receiver chips in the handsets they distribute. “And we’re talking to Apple as well” (about including FM in their popular iPods and iPhones.)

Rehr also credited NAB seed money and the organization’s FASTROAD initiative with jump-starting the successful efforts of the Open Mobile Video Coalition which announced its progress at a breakfast session just prior to Rehr’s opening address (see related story by clicking here.)

“By 2012 we expect 130 million phones and 25 million media players will be able to receive mobile television,” said Rehr. “An NAB study concluded that TV broadcasters could see incremental revenue of more than $2 billion after 2012 with mobile DTV. I believe the revenue upside is probably greater than we can even imagine.”

Following his remarks, Rehr took obvious pleasure in introducing the NAB’s 2009 public service awardee. Actress Mary Tyler Moore was honored for her frequent efforts on behalf of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, whose president credits Moore with elevating their fundraising from about $3 million a year to “over a billion dollars raised for research.”

Among those praising Moore in a pre-award video were co-stars Dick Van Dyke and Ed Asner; producer-writers Carl Reiner, Bill Persky and Jim Brooks; HBO programming chief Sheila Nevins; and Oprah Winfrey, who confessed that, as a girl, she “wanted to be Mary Tyler Moore.”

Password must contain the following:

A lowercase letter

A capital (uppercase) letter

A number

Minimum 8 characters