This year’s NAB trade show looks more like what we remember but also pushes into a fully digital future.
The general atmosphere of this year’s NAB Show conveyed the feeling that conventions and the media industry are back in business. Solid crowds and little memory of lockdowns contributed to an air of positivity.
For radio-oriented audiences there was no longer any debate about whether digital distribution was something they wanted, but simply assumed to be happening and one of the bases of the future radio ecosystem. Meanwhile, going by the number of sessions and equipment news devoted to it, cloud operations appear to be inevitable for any significantly-sized radio broadcaster.
Major broadcasters are rapidly building out IP networks to link all of their facilities. In addition, this allows for monitoring capabilities undreamed of previously and even single-station owners are showing interest. Naturally this technology will take some time to filter throughout the globe, but it is coming.
The cloud was also part of the “remote” vs. “on premises” debate. Here the reduction of costs and increased reliability of cloud-based remote tools is making a strong case. The features being built into these infrastructures will bring new opportunities and practices for the broadcaster. And the digitization will be felt beyond network equipment, all the way into the radio studio, both those on premises and remote.
There may be hold-outs but remote operation will almost certainly be the dominant model of operation in the future.
“AI” is the current buzzword driving sometimes heated discussions throughout numerous industries and AI discussions were not absent from the 2023 NAB Show. It even affects the radio industry and several companies debuted or showed some of the things to expect. AI-powered voices will replace some DJs and voiceover talent; but not all. AI will also add unimagined power to data capture and analytics on the business side. Agreement is unanimous ─ this will happen and much will be good but there will likely be some roughness as well.
The show saw what might be called a revival of the magic of radio in the car. Digital technology is making signal delivery more flexible and customizable providing coverage options once unimaginable. It also adds listener data acquisition and analytic tools that will make sales personnel salivate as never before. AI will be used to jet propel this segment as well.
One might conclude that for radio broadcasters in attendance the 2023 NAB Show may have introduced a sea change for this industry.