Why Should Radio Managers Care About CES?

(By Buzz Knight) Someone will ask that question each January, when I along with 170,000 of my closest friends, make the trek to CES in Las Vegas.
In the dozen-plus years that I’ve made the journey, the driving motivation at the outset of a new year is to kick it into high gear with a jolt to the senses that inspires curiosity and a passion for innovation.
As I thought about CES 2020, and whether or not to make the journey as I begin my own consultancy, it was apparent that this year more than ever it was mandatory for me to attend.
So Why CES?
We all should challenge ourselves to go to the most meaningful events surrounding our livelihood, and this is the one that should be almost mandatory every year. Some have suggested that not much changes year to year (that’s sometimes true) and you can occasionally skip a year. While I can’t disagree with that logic, the show always delivers something of impact that can make a difference and inspire you.
CES is a reflection of the present and the future!
When you attend CES, it most certainly is a window into the current state of technology but also a view into the future. You can often envision the thought process of innovators who subscribe to the “Blue Ocean Philosophy” and create new opportunities around the challenges of the present.
With our world being more exposed to danger, we see UVeye, an Israeli Company on display at CES with their Artificial Intelligence Technology to detect bombs, weapons, and drugs, and other terrorist-related threats — and its potential to change how car makers and their suppliers can improve vehicle quality.
Then there is WhiteFox, the company that has the technology to detect, identify, and if needed, take down rogue drones. I’m not making any of this up!
Another example how CES forces us to be aware of disruptive forces around us is the way technology is addressing the healthcare of the world at large.
Companies like Ebb Therapeutics are addressing sleep research with their Ebb device that is a wearable sleep device to target the racing mind and relieve sleeplessness.
Another example of a company responding to the need of consumers around health care is Rally Health, a consumer-centric health company that makes it easy for people to take charge of their health. Their digital health platform delivers web and mobile solutions to help people manage their health and well-being at a time when the health care system in our country certainly has some issues.
Keeping up with the future of the car
Back around 2010, CES began an evolution with an eye on helping us track the future of the car. Then Ford CEO Alan Mulally began giving keynote speeches and his company, along with others, would unveil new product lines or initiatives at CES.
Automakers and their suppliers are completely reimagining the mobility and interior of the car of the future.
In-cabin sensors can detect a driver’s or passenger’s mood, personalization features are becoming more commonplace, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) continue to improve, and of course there is this little development called self-driving cars that we need to keep tabs on as well.
As the radio industry grapples with our crossroads on how to deploy talent and resources, the auto industry is at its own crossroads on how to retain customers and improve in-cabin technology.
Being at CES gives us a front row seat to this activity and gives us necessary perspective on how to best manage for the future.
The Relationships
Make no mistake about it, CES is also important due to the many relationships that have grown out of attending the event. When radio consultant Holland Cooke began evangelizing the importance of attending, many years ago, I didn’t realize how that common bond regarding the event would only grow.
Add in what Fred and Paul Jacobs have done for the benefit of the industry, along with Erica Farber and her team at the RAB, and Steve Newberry and his NAB team, and you have the gold standard event to attend.
Buzz_Knight16Buzz Knight is the CEO of Buzz Knight Media and can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]


  1. CES will not give most of us access when following the proper channels. I was turned down for passes as a VP of our market. I think many of us would like to attend, they just won’t allow us to.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here