Radio Ink’s Countdown To NAB Show 2024: Jacobs Media


    Radio Ink is counting down to NAB Show 2024 at the Las Vegas Convention Center by having conversations with some of radio’s biggest innovators in the weeks leading up to April 13-17.

    To open, we sit down with Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs and General Manager Paul Jacobs.

    Radio Ink: AI talk dominated CES and CRS, will NAB make the trifecta or do you think something else is going to take top honors?

    Paul Jacobs: Think of it this way, if AI doesn’t dominate, something’s wrong.

    Fred Jacobs: I think maybe the difference will be that NAB also covers a variety of other existential questions and issues – everything from the health of the industry to the AM radio legislation that is pending. So from that standpoint, I think AI is going to have to get in line.

    You know, it’s going to be a topic and there’s going to be a lot of buzz about it and I would think that a lot of the gadgets on the exhibit floor will be very AI-ized, just like we saw at CES. Where everybody’s talking about how AI is in their gadget or device or whatever. But the NAB is a broader event. AI will be a big part of the conversation, but still only a part.

    Radio Ink: CES, which you both famously offer tours of each year, is technology-heavy, but not necessarily radio-heavy. You’ve talked about how that’s a disparity that needs to be adjusted at great length. What new technology do you anticipate to be on display on the floor at NAB?

    Fred Jacobs: So I think to some degree, it is gonna be more of the same, but not everybody goes to CES, as you know. In fact, really a small percentage of the radio industry shows up. And so I think for a lot of attendees, clearly the Xperi piece is going to be really huge. They’ve got a lot of really cool things going on. They’re expanding their OEM list as we saw at CES.

    One of the things that I got excited about was seeing HD Radio in a motorcycle. I’m not a motorcycle guy, but I just thought it was just really cool. So I think there’s going to be a lot of broadcasters who haven’t seen these innovations. I hope they’ll be excited by what they see as the possibilities in the car and not just be focused on the AM radio issue.

    Paul Jacobs: I completely agree. I mean, when you look at digital innovation right now for radio, Xperia is defining it. And I hope they replicate at NAB what they showcased at CES because-

    Fred Jacobs: That’s impressive, yeah.

    Paul Jacobs: Yeah. A small sliver of the broadcast industry goes to CES. And it’s not just HD Radio. I think that’s where people don’t understand what Xperi is doing in terms of enhancing the way radio looks in the car. Then with the overlay of Quu, that whole visual communication element is critical.

    The data that they’re putting out of the car, it will only help our industry as more broadcasters jump on board with that. The more people who are running around with the heat maps as more cars come online with it, the more valuable it’s going to be and help businesses and advertisers truly understand what radio’s reach means in real-time.

    Fred Jacobs: It’s of paramount importance here that radio pulls together here, not just to make sure AM radio is in the dashboard, but that broadcast radio in the dashboard looks as good as it possibly can. So I hope that’s one of the takeaways from NAB Show 2024.

    Radio Ink: Let’s take a step off the convention floor and head on up to some panels. What panels and sessions do you all have on tap for this year?

    Fred Jacobs: I’m doing a couple. The first is a sports radio panel I’m moderating on Tuesday at 1:30p, and I will have fresh data that no one has seen before from Techsurvey 2024, specific to the sports radio format. I’m hoping that will provide a jump ball for the panel. It’s really a great group of sports radio programming people. I’m hoping that’s a lively discussion.

    Then at 3p, I’m going to be leading a Sip and Speak called “How Radio Can Embrace its Local Markets Roots,” which is much debated in the industry in terms of whether local really means what it used to mean and if it is all that important. Spoiler alert: I’m going to try to make the case that it’s more important than ever before. Certainly coming out of COVID, we’ve got data that shows that. So I will also be dipping a bit into the soon-to-be-released Techsurvey 2024. But yeah, I’m definitely gonna be waving the big local flag at this Sip and Speak.

    Paul Jacobs: What are we sipping?

    Fred Jacobs: Well, maybe people should bring the beverage of their choice. I mean, three o ‘clock. I mean, it’s five o ‘clock somewhere. Hey, all roads lead to the cocktail party, that’s really why we’re going.

    Radio Ink: That’s right! Jacobs Media is again a big sponsor of Cocktails and Conversation, which will be at The Capital Grille with extra help from our friends from Xperi, Quu, Skyview Networks, Benztown, Beasley Media, vCreative on NAB Show Sunday. What are you looking forward to about this year’s event?

    Paul Jacobs: Well, to me, it’s the radio show. Not to coin a phrase, but this is where people from radio can come together as part of a much larger convention and not just bump into each other serendipitously in the lobby of some hotel. We can all come together and have a drink and chat and have a good time.

    And it’s massive. You know, two years ago, I couldn’t even get into my own party because we were oversold and the fire marshal was being a jerk. But that’s really what I’m looking for – just the collective radio people all in one place.

    Fred Jacobs: Yeah. I think we really like each other and, you know, it is cool to get together and hang out not just at sessions and panels and the exhibit floor. I’ve actually come to look forward to these. As you know, we do them at CES, too. But I think this one is really going to be jammed. Everything I hear from the organizing mavens is that we might actually be able to put some of the passes us on StubHub and make a killing.

    Radio Ink: Will trade for Sphere tickets?

    Fred Jacobs: I was going to mention Sphere. We saw it at CES and I would highly recommend it to broadcasters. I’m assuming most of them have not been to this thing. If they’ve got an evening off, it would be a fun thing to do.

    Paul Jacobs: And sit in the front row of the third level.

    Fred Jacobs: Yeah, those turned out to be the best seats. Do not sit on the floor. It’s like being in the second row of a movie theater.

    Radio Ink: One last question, in that same vein. And Paul, this is for you specifically, because Fred answered it last year when we talked. Besides the location best location for sitting in Sphere, what’s a good pro-tip or a best-kept secret for the NAB Show?

    Paul Jacobs: Okay, pro-tip: the Vegas loop. They’ve added to the convention center by adding the West Hall, which in most cities would be the largest convention center in that state. But it’s just one of four convention halls in Vegas.

    West Hall is gorgeous, but getting there from North Hall, where there’s a lot of the meetings and things like that, it’s a schlep. So they have created an underground tunnel system that started going underground from North Hall to West Hall. It is now going out to some hotels. It will eventually go to Fremont Street and the airport. But what makes it unbelievable is you ride in Teslas in these tunnels and it’s beautiful.

    It’s really well lit. It’s cool. And these babies just zip through these little tunnels. Not only do you save a ton of steps but you just have kind of like that 60-second moment of Zen.

    Fred Jacobs: It’s a rush. And just to keep your readers calm, they are not autonomous Teslas. There are actual people driving them, but it’s just one of those secrets that nobody knows about. I can’t tell you how many times we took it at CES. I’m thinking easily six to eight times, easily.  It’s poorly marked but just ask where is the Vegas Loop and the NAB Greeters will Point to where to go. It’s convenient, it’s a rush, and it’ll save you some steps.

    Radio Ink: And hopefully we can get some AM down there once the bill passes.

    Fred Jacobs: [Laughs] Yeah, hopefully, we can get AM in a Tesla.


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here