The end came, as it always does, early. I was in the back of the room during Wednesday’s NAB Show Digital Strategies for Radio session — a grueling five-and-a-half hour parade of stultification in a single room with no breaks — when the urge to leave became overwhelming. So I did,
The theme of the convention for radio this year was, if there was any theme at all, “The Best Defense Is To Get Really, Really Defensive.” AM/FM radio, I was told, is indispensable to all. The 93% reach number was trotted out several times. Podcasting was featured, but in an anthropological way, a curiosity approached more in terms of whether anyone’s making any money on it and a place radio can put radio-style programming rather than a separate art form and medium. Certainly, there were no podcasting stars on display.
Yeah, but it’s not a podcasting conference, you might say. But, as the NAB is fond of saying, the Spring show is a content show. “Content is King,” the slogan read this year, only about a decade or so after that phrase was a thing. And, certainly, the show has forsaken the “B” in NAB — broadcasters are segregated into small areas of the massive exhibit halls and into narrow management and engineering conference tracks, while the majority of the show involves video production, with an emphasis on online and SVOD content. So, yeah, why not podcasting? But unlike our own Worldwide Radio Summit, there were no speakers you’d identify primarily as a podcast star. (Scratch that — Graham Elwood was there, but I didn’t run into him. He would count, but he was decidedly not being treated as a major attraction, relegated to a panel right on the exhibit floor, maximum capacity a few dozen.) You’d think they’d take a run at a Maron, a Carolla, a Hardwick or Koenig or Alex Blumberg or Dan Carlin.
But they didn’t. Status quo was celebrated. (Not Status Quo the band, either.) And at about 1 pm Pacific time today, I was done with that. I got up, walked out, headed for the monorail, got my rental car, and drove off onto the horizon… okay, to Henderson to kill time at a Barnes and Noble for the Wi-Fi before heading to my flight. But you get the idea.