The Latest in Radio, Streaming & Podcasting at the NAB Radio Show

The 2019 NAB Radio Show has concluded, and what an opportunity it was for the Digital Media students of UNI. Chris Wichert, Estefania Ravasio Corrales, and Josh Michel attended the convention with Professor Paul Torre. Over the course of the trip we met with CEOs, on-air talent, advertisers, and a wide variety of vendors!

2019 NAB Radio Show
With National Radio Award Winner, Mary Quass, CEO of NRG Media

One of the best learning experiences of the trip came from the Mentor Matchup sessions. As BEA Student Scholars, we got to sit with CEOs and executives from various radio and media companies, and had the opportunity to pick their brains about the audio industry. Estefanía Ravasio Corrales was impressed with “everyone acknowledged that even though our generations may be decades apart, we need each other to continue dominating the audio industry…and everyone was so nice to us.” Networking with the leading minds in the audio industry, and absorbing their knowledge like a sponge, is an opportunity we were fortunate to have.

2019 NAB Radio Show Networking
Mentor Match Ups – A Networking Opportunity at the NAB Radio Show

Another great insight on the audio industry came from Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia. Vaynerchuk’s keynote at the Radio Show highlighted the fact that audience attention is the priority, not the method of distribution. Noting that “any company here who digs in their heels believing simply in traditional distribution over the Internet is going to lose,” Vaynerchuk emphasized that radio stations have to transition to putting their content onto the internet if they hope to keep the attention of their audience. It was interesting to see which executives were embracing the changes of the future, and which executives were cautious about overhauling their traditional business models.

The Gen Z panel was another unique look into the future of radio. The panel, comprised of six young radio professionals, had an interesting take on the future of radio. One common observation was that radio companies struggle to reach younger viewers. This is because young people want to be able to choose what they listen to, and to access that content on demand. Also, younger audiences have the ability to detect when companies are targeting their age group with marketing. “Kids today want to be authentic, they think of themselves as their own personal brand. And we can tell when people act like they know what we want, and we tend to reject that, because those people are on the outside looking in,” said Ana Castillejos, an on-air personality on The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show.

Another amazing opportunity from the NAB Radio Show was attending the National Radio Award luncheon. This year’s winner was Mary Quass, CEO of NRG Media, and a UNI Alum! Mary invited us to sit at her table, and couldn’t have been nicer, chatting with us until they welcomed her onstage! NRG Media operates 41 local radio stations throughout the Midwest, including in Cedar Rapids and Waterloo. Mary has been the CEO for 14 years, and has had experience in the audio industry for several decades. She is not intending on slowing down, as her passion for the industry still runs high today.

Chris, Josh, & Estefanía with Mark Osmundson of the Iowa Broadcasters Association

The 2019 NAB Radio Show gave us a unique view into the industry of radio and audio. Chris Wichert felt that, “while some of the companies claimed that radio is still a viable investment, voices like Gary Vaynerchuk stood up and said what we all know: the audio industry may be growing, but it is important that the industry focus on broadening its presence online rather than just through airwaves.” While the future of traditional radio may be uncertain, the future of the wider audio industry is bright. People are listening to audio content now more than ever. The most important aspect of the audio industry is not the platform on which content is distributed, but the reality that the audience is listening. As long as people have two ears, audio of the future is sure to be heard, loud and clear!

Special thanks to the Iowa Broadcasters Association and UNI Digital Media Leadership for making this amazing experience possible!

-Josh Michel, UNI Digital Media

NAB Radio Show – Exploring Media Futures

We’re off! Three Digital Media students and Professor Torre are heading out to the NAB Radio Show in Dallas, Texas today!

The NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) Radio Show is an annual trade show that keeps media professionals up-to-date on the latest trends, not just in broadcast radio, but related services like online streaming and podcasting as well. The NAB Radio Show will provide us with opportunities to learn about a variety of career options and to network with industry professionals.

We will also attend a special lunch, “2020 and Beyond: Insights from the Top,” where NRG CEO Mary Quass will receive the National Radio Award! Mary is a UNI alum and huge supporter of our Digital Media program, and we are so excited to support her as she is honored by her peers!

Follow our NAB 2019 adventure on social media!
Facebook: @UNIDigitalMedia
Twitter: @DigitalMediaUNI
Instagram: @UNIDigitalMedia

-Estefania Ravasio-Corrales, Joshua Michel, Chris Wichert and Professor Torre

NAB Show Here We Come! Going to Vegas to Explore the World of Digital Media!

From cameras to Captain Marvel, virtual reality to video games, the Spider-Verse to sports broadcasting, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show is a huge media trade show where tens of thousands of professionals from around the world come together to talk about a common passion—digital media. And beginning on April 7th, Digital Media students from the University of Northern Iowa get to experience it!

NAB 2019 1

UNI Digital Media, with the generous sponsorship of the Iowa Broadcasters Association (IBA), is sending a group to this massive industry event. Ten Digital Media students, accompanied by two faculty members, will experience four exciting days in Las Vegas, learning more about their passions and interests in this ever-expanding field of content creation.

NAB 2019

We divided ourselves into two Production & Promotion teams, and will be working on creating a series of short videos about various companies, tech & gear, and the different things we are excited to learn more about at the NAB Show.

The Gold Team is comprised of Gabby Leitner as Unit Production Manager, Chris Davis as Script Supervisor, Charles Schwarz as Social Media Producer, Corey Behrens as Director of Photography, and Jasmine Aquino as Post Production Supervisor. The Gold Team will be creating a series of videos highlighting a few different aspects in the media world. One of their two main topics will be on the implementation of artificial intelligence and how it can better advance the creation of media content. They will also explore how E-Sports is expanding and impacting television and entertainment as a whole

The Purple Team features Brandon Lynch as UPM, Brooklyn Krause as Script Supervisor, Taylor Lien as Social Media Producer, Ivan Korsakov as DP, and Noah Lucy in charge of Post Production. They are excited to learn more about women in media. They plan to talk to many female professionals about their experiences in this male-dominated industry, and are hoping to catch up with Amy DeLouise, who came to UNI last year to talk about women in media. They will also be tracking cutting edge media technologies, checking out the many booths with fascinating gadgets, including companies showing off the smallest 4k cameras, augmented reality cameras, and real-time visual effects software.

We hope you will follow our journey on our social media pages and watch for our videos in the next couple weeks! We are all very excited to make new connections and learn more about our career interests at NAB 2019.

Follow our NAB 2019 adventure on social media!
Facebook: @UNIDigitalMedia
Twitter: @DigtialMediaUNI
Instagram: @UNIDigitalMedia

-Christopher Davis and Brooklyn Krause

UNI Digital Media Students at the NAB Radio Show!

Six students from the UNI Digital Media program traveled to Orlando, Florida for four days of intensive learning about the radio industry. The NAB Radio Show started off with some great speakers and live performances. Each of us were interested in taking away something specific from the Show, from the sales area, or management, or learning more about on-air personalities, and we picked sessions that fit our interests!

NAB Radio ShowNick went to the Radio Show to learn more about promotions and marketing: “I sat in on a few different sessions dealing with SEO marketing, growing databases, and strategies to increase revenue across all media platforms. A company called Boostability, talked about how radio ads prompt online searches, and how they can improve SEO ranking. Second Street Marketing shared that if you use integrated marketing you will find the best audience and push great results.”

Along with these great sessions and speakers, there were also booths in the exhibition area, and we were able to interact with businesses in the industry, especially on the technology side of things: from businesses focused on building better marketing and promotions, to companies that build soundboards. And we really enjoyed all the free stuff from each booth: T-shirts, water bottles, full size candy bars, and lots and lots of mints!

For Monica and Brandon, they went to the Radio Show for the networking. On the last day of the Show there was career fair, and they enjoyed the opportunity to network and pitch themselves for future careers in the industry.

While at the 2018 NAB Radio Show, we took pictures and shot video as a way of sharing our experience with everyone in UNI Digital Media. Check out our trip by clicking the links below!

Here are pictures from our NAB Radio Show trip that we posted on UNI Digital Media Facebook. And here is the short video we created about what we learned and experienced.

On behalf of the University of Northern Iowa’s Digital Media program, and the participants in this year’s Radio Show in Orlando, we want to give a big thank you to Professor Torre for taking us on this trip, and to the Iowa Broadcasters Association for this great opportunity to interact and gain experience in the industry! Last but not least, we want to offer our congratulations to the legendary John David for being recognized with the National Radio Award (as featured in the picture above). Well deserved, Mr. David!

-Monica Cruise

Is Everyone Jumping on the Battle Royale Bandwagon?

Battle Royale games have been rising in popularity since early 2017. The two most popular battle royale games, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite, currently have over 77 million players combined worldwide. Both games are predicted to bring in over $1 Billion in their first year alone. Combine this with their nearly overnight growth in popularity and it is clear that battle royale games have become a big threat to other game companies.

Battle Royale

The battle royale game type gets its name from a Japanese movie made in 2000 “Battle Royale”. In this movie a class of high school students are put on an island fight to the death until only one remains. In 2012 a similar movie was made in America, “The Hunger Games”.  With a PG-13 rating “The Hunger Games” was able to reach and influence a younger audience. Eventually these movies inspired game creators to make mods, or custom game types, with a Hunger Games theme in mind.

One of the more popular mods was created and cared for by Brendan Greene, aka PlayerUnknown. His mod, with the help of “Unreal Engine 4” by Epic Games, would go on to become the stand-alone game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, or PUBG for short. Shortly afterwards, Epic Games would release Fortnite, which appeared to be a cartoony copy of PUBG and used the same engine. This sparked some controversy which quickly died down.

Both games rose in popularity, and in a few short months each game had tens of millions of players worldwide. Other game companies took note of this and started plans to hop on the battle royale bandwagon. In an article on GameRant, Activision Blizzard talked about their new game, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. It is mentioned that this Call of Duty game will be significantly different from its predecessors as it will not have a campaign and will focus more on a team style combat in player versus player battle. Later Activision Blizzard went on to announce a battle royale mode would be added to the game to compete with Fortnite.

Activision Blizzard is not the only company to take a lesson from PUBG and Fortnite, DICE is also going to be adding a battle royale mode to their new game, Battlefield V. DICE’s battle royale mode, called Firestorm, is described as battle royale done the Battlefield way. In Firestorm sixteen teams of four fight to the last squad standing in a WWII themed battle ground.

Smaller gaming companies are also trying to get into the spotlight by making their own battle royale games. Games like the Darwin Project, Rapture Rejects, and Islands of Nyne are all battle royale inspired games hoping to make a few bucks before this new craze dies down.

battle royaleWhether or not you are a fan of the battle royale game type it seems to be growing in popularity and bringing more and more people into the videogame market. With free to play games like Fortnite people are more inclined to try out a game before they get hooked. The big titles in gaming are losing fans to these free to play games and are combating it with a “if you can’t beat them, join them” attitude.

While some companies like Activision Blizzard are quick to change everything about their classic Call of Duty games, other companies are playing it safe. DICE is keeping with what they know and adding in a fresh take on battle royale; this move makes it look like they are not sure if the battle royale fad will continue in the future or not. Do you think that the battle royale games are here to stay, or are they just another footnote in gaming history?

-Lane Larson

New Technology From Apple – Is the Price Tag Worth It?

On September 12, 2018, Apple held their annual new product release and it featured three new phones and an impressive new watch. There was much anticipation to see the new upgrades from the previous year when we got the iPhone X. This year we saw a bigger jump in the price for the new products but that has been a consistent factor every year. Some people were let down with the new releases while others have been thinking Apple is starting to stray away from some markets and they are putting more focus towards others.


Apple unveiled three new smartphones at the event, the iPhone Xr, Xs and the Xs Max. The Xr is the cheaper version but still offers the OLED edge to edge screen and offers up to 5 different color choices. The Xs and Xs Max didn’t obtain too many significant changes other than an upgraded camera and faster processor chip and the Max has an impressive larger 6.5 inch screen.

Also the new Apple Watch boasts some new interesting features like an EKG sensor that can detect heart rate and has new fall detection. A new release of a dual sim and esim could be in the future iPhones and they offer consumers multiple different benefits, a few would be two numbers on one phone, significantly increased battery life, and phones with stronger and better material.

With the new iPhones released, it left customers confused why they should upgrade to the new phone. For example, users with the previous year’s iPhone X have little to no reason to upgrade unless they want a bigger screen, but the price tag might be holding them back. For certain users who don’t have the iPhone X, they could be interested in upgrading to the new phone for the new edge to edge screen and face unlock feature. But the new software update, iOs12 is claiming that older phones are working better which makes older phone users an even stronger reason not to upgrade

Apple’s new focus is on their ‘wearables’ category which includes their watch and airpods or headphones. They shared that their wearables market has grown around 50% each year and now holds an impressive $9 billion dollar industry that is around the size of a Fortune 500 company. The reason Apple boasts they’re so successful in this market is because of no real competitors. Fitbit is their greatest threat which is only a $1.4 billion dollar company and has shown signs of depression in the last year. Apple has said they want to join the market for over the ear headphones because of the market that Dr. Dre Beats currently are holding. Some of the future features they want to add to their wearable products are making them be Siri-enabled and waterproof with wireless charging. They think these key features could drag even more consumers away from other brands who don’t offer those features.

Apple currently is manufacturing their processing chips with Intel but noted that they want to eventually part ways with the company. Their goal is to make their chips in-house which would save them money in the long run and could provide bigger opportunities for improving their products.

Another big problem Apple has run into, is their artificial intelligence or AI. Smartphones with AI that can understand and interact with the consumer are going to be the future of technology and Apple is falling behind in the race. Google and Amazon have taken a lead in the AI race with Google having its pixel 2 smartphone being able to translate in real time and Amazon improving their already impressive home Alexa.

Apple has some big decisions they need to make in the next coming years if they want to stay in some markets or drop and focus heavily on others. What would you like to see from Apple in the future if you are a customer, or how do you think they should invest in the coming years?

-Jordan Stevenson

Beta Backers – The New and Dangerous Way to Support a Video Game

Over the past few years, Video game companies have started a new approach to delivering their final product to their consumers, giving them an option to offer feedback towards the final product and playing early at the cost of a few dollars. While it might be fun to play the game early and feel like a part of the development process, there are risks involved in being in the Early Access phase of a game.

video gameBefore the introduction of the internet, video games were sold as a final product as either a cartridge or CD. Now with most consoles and PCs having access to the internet, companies can make changes quickly depending on consumer feedback.

video game

What makes a product in beta any better than a fully finished product? Early Access / Betas for video games can be a win-win for both the developers as well as those purchasing the product: developers now have funds to further develop their game to their liking and those that purchased the game can play it earlier than others as well as giving their helpful advice or criticism early into the development cycle allowing the developers time to change some of the problems to make the community happy.

video gameAs small and large development teams alike might take advantage of this strategy and have those that the game give feedback as well as submitting bug reports and crash reports to make their game more stable for the final release. Ben Kurchera of Polygon says it the best:

“…the process often feels like listening to the demos of your favorite band as they’re in the studio recording”

Sure there are problems…While a successful beta can lead to quality word of mouth from reputable sources and peers alike, there are always a few bad apples in the bunch, and by a few, there are quite a few bad apples. According to Steam Early Access in 2014, there was an increase in Early Access games by 123% from the previous year. While that might seem like there is a good quality of games in the Steam store, only about 25% of these Early Access games actually see a full release. Games like Cube World blew up in 2013 generating millions of views on Youtube, but despite the overall well received game, Cube World creator Wollay has gone silent since July 2017.

Today, using Valve Steam’s Application Programming Interface, [], can track various data within the Steam Store. About 2,800 titles with the “Early Access” tag generate an average user score of 70.3% as well as maintaining an average playtime of five hours. Five hours to play a game and never pick it up again? While the company already has your cash, that is still an unfortunate side effect of an Early Access game.

What makes a good beta? With no clear formula to create a quality video game early access experience, there are a few ways that game companies can up their overall performance to help create a better game:

Communication between parties

  • Every update should be accommodated with a short explanation on what and why items are changing for the most recent patch.
  • All forms of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc) should be active, whether that be responding to comments, suggestions, or criticism.


  • Keep the user base interested in the product. Release small updates every week or so to keep your user base around and talking about the game.
  • FREE UPDATES. While yes, video game developers require cash to keep it coming, the game is in BETA. If your game company is looking to monetize, then push for a full release to sell at full price. Small micro transactions can be a tipping point for most people since they might have already paid for the beta/ early access of the game.


  • Even though the game is not close to finishing, you still want new people to come and try out your product. Beta and Early Access is a crucial time for the game, for if the game is not successful while in the early stages, how well will it be two years from now?
  • Attempt to use the user base as a form of marketing. Offer unique rewards for referring a friend or liking certain pages on social media. Any word for a starting game can be beneficial.

-Nate Weber

Is Biased News Clogging your Information Stream?

Are you drinking out of a sewer? Sometimes, readers get bogged down in hearing only one side of a news story. For a fresh approach, readers should take in both sides of media, both liberal and conservative.

The infographic below, shows where sources lie in their bias. An astute reader would be better served to read less biased, or a balance between both sides, to make a fresh original decision. When we side with one bias, we tend to only hear more from that side because we like to hear that particular side. The problem with this practice, is that is causes a bigger divide in our country. Being less biased and more objective, is a mature way to confront news stories. But it takes effort to wade through the biases and make an informed decision.

News There are so many ways that people can attain news. Whether it’s online, a newspaper, or from television, news is easily accessible to anyone with a viewing device. People have different preferences when it comes to their news source: liberal or conservative and even how the news is being shared, digital or traditional news.

As you can see from the scale, there is the far left, far right and the “sweet spot” or as it is called here, the “Goldilocks Zone.” At the farthest left, is BuzzFeed and The Huffington Post. In contrast, on the far right is DRUDGE REPORT and BreitBart, two news websites. One of the least biased news sources, BBC, (British Broadcasting Corporation) provides online news, as well as nature documentaries.

It is tricky for a company to not be biased, but sites like PolitiFact, Snopes, FACTCHECK, or others are right in the middle with little room for bias. This is impressive and obviously atypical for a media company, especially a news company. Everyone should make an effort to be as unbiased as possible, so they can see the whole picture. When they see the whole picture, not only do they understand the differences in both sides, but they can think for themselves. If they only look for biased news, they are limiting themselves and clogging what might be the truth in the story. Viewing the news from one side, is like using half of the brain. Why wouldn’t you want to use all of your brain? In other words, you only get half of the information that you need from a biased source, compared to all of the information you could get from an unbiased source.

But bias isn’t the only thing wrong with the news. Many news stations and websites lie to get more viewers. Many of them take words out of context, make fun of someone or even make up whatever they want and call it news. The graphic below shows that when news companies deceive people and they find out, it causes a lack of trust in the viewers.


The graphic mentions clickbait, which many of us have heard that term, as it is an everyday word used on YouTube. Clickbait, refers to the false presentation of information solely for the benefit of the one who created it. For example, a YouTube video could be clickbait and the same with a news article. The purpose of clickbait, is to get the reader or viewer engaged in whatever is being presented to them. It combines the fishing term of putting bait on a hook, while also using the technological term for interacting with your computer while using a mouse. Clickbait is one of the most deceptive and clever tactics used by those who want to attract attention to a particular thing, especially using the internet. We may have heard of most of these, but may not know what propaganda is exactly. Propaganda is similar to clickbait, but with a biased twist to it.

So if we have all of this bias and misinformation in our media, why hasn’t anyone done anything about it? Is there even a solution to this problem? Let me know your thoughts about this serious issue.

-Calvin Cook