Why More Radio Executives Should Attend CES


The number of radio executives attending the annual tech and gadget show in Las Vegas is increasing every year according to our friend Buzz Knight at Beasley Media. In fact, Fred Jacobs took some of those executives on a tour of the massive event this year. Radio Ink spoke to Jacobs about the tour, what new technology will impact the radio industry and what he was most impressed with from the 2017 show. Here’s what he had to say.

Radio Ink: How was your tour of CES with Radio people and were you happy with the turnout from the radio industry?
Fred Jacobs: We were gratified by the broadcast leaders who attended and the quality of companies they represent. This impressive turnout tells us the industry is opening its mind to what’s new and what’s next. They were enthusiastic, excited, and truly blown away by what we saw and did at CES. We actually programmed two back-to-back tours. We designed theces-ceo-group-shot-2 first part with the Consumer Technology Association, led by one of their expert guides. The second leg was the “Fred & Paul Tour” that was focused more on the car and issues that hit close to home for our execs. The post-tour reviews are great, and we will most definitely do this again for CES 2018.

Radio Ink: What technology that will most impact radio were you most impressed with this year?
Fred Jacobs: Autonomous car technology is moving faster than even the auto industry thought. And while there have been well-publicized “fails,” cars that drive themselves are inevitable. And they will have impact on the radio industry. Our execs concurred that all this technological change should push radio to up its content offerings in order to be competitive and essential in the cars of the future.

Radio Ink: Did you see anything that made you think, uh oh, the radio industry better be concerned about this?
Fred Jacobs: Not a particular gadget or device, but the accelerated pace of change – in the home and in the car – two locations that matter dearly to the radio industry.   Clearly, voice command technology – specifically, the Amazon Echo – was all over CES. Many, many devices and platforms are using the voice of Alexa as a communication bridge between humans and new technology.

Radio Ink: What is your takeaway from the reaction and discussions with radio executives you spoke to about their experience?
Fred Jacobs: The CES experience itself was so impactful to them. They’ve seen videos, but there’s nothing like be in the heart of the Las Vegas Convention Center, surrounded by all the glitz, the gadgets, and the humanity.   They also were amazed by how many companies are committed to tech, investing heavily in the space.   I think they also got a sense for how important it is for radio to be more aware of the technology that is all around us.   You really get a great feel for the larger media and tech ecosystem when you attend CES.

Radio Ink: Why should more executives and employees from radio consider attending CES?
Fred Jacobs: There’s no question this event is something that executives and managers should attend. Paul and I have felt that way for years – that if broadcasters just made the commitment to go, they’d derive great value. And now that our first Jacobs CES/CEO Tour is in the books, our beliefs have been reinforced. This is a great investment in the future of radio – its brands and its people. I think you’re going to see more and more radio execs every year at CES.


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