(By Steve Newberry) Forecast 2022 was a great event. Seeing friends in person, gathering to hear industry influencers, and sharing ideas with colleagues felt wonderful! It was a slice of normalcy to the broadcast community that we’ve all missed since March of 2020.
While the social aspect of Forecast 2022 felt familiar, the business challenges facing radio and television broadcasters are far from normal. Digital revenue, DC policy battles with giant tech companies, the need for diversity and countless other topics are all impacting how we chart our future. In our previous “normal world”, these were seen as daunting obstacles for broadcasting’s future.
For far too long, our industry looked toward the inevitable changes to the media landscape as a looming threat. I’m criticizing myself as much as anyone. I loved how radio worked. I loved the margins. I felt like I had it figured out, and I really didn’t want to have to deal with a long list of new issues like podcasting, streaming, apps, digital sales, competition from the tech companies and…well, the list seemed to go on and on.
However, Forecast 2022 felt like a pivotal point in how broadcasting is approaching the future. Instead of frustration, objection to or denial of the challenges ahead, I heard optimism, strategic thought, and the embracing of new opportunities.
It seems, at long last, broadcasting is embracing the “new normal”.
There was excitement and energy around merging new business and distribution opportunities with our long-established and trusted brands. A realization broadcasters can do more than ever before. A fresh approach to taking traditional over-the-air signals, enhancing our familiar and trusted broadcast products with new delivery paths, and creating rich content. An approach that both deepens the relationships with our listeners/viewers while also creating exciting new revenue opportunities.
Panel after panel presented this new perspective throughout the day. Discussions about business growth, station valuations, diversity and revenue trends ALL had the same general theme. Radio and television broadcasting are strong industries with tremendous legacies of service. However, by embracing a different way of running our businesses, creating compelling content, and serving our communities, the future path is filled with opportunity for enormous reward.
It was great to be in-person at Forecast 2022 with so many colleagues. It felt terrific. But in reflection, what felt best about this year’s event was the sense of how those in the room have pivoted from defending threats to embracing opportunities. Broadcasting’s world is not back to “normal.” Instead, it appears broadcasters are now embracing a “new normal” with enthusiasm and a sense of opportunity.
I’m looking forward to Forecast 2023 and I’m really looking forward to broadcasting’s exciting new future. It will have its challenges, but the opportunities are endless!
Steve Newberry is CEO of Quu Inc. He was previously Executive Vice-President, Industry Affairs and Strategic Planning for the National Association of Broadcasters. He can be reached at [email protected]