DRONES ARE INVADING THE MEDIA BIZ!

Drones were definitely one of the most awe inspiring and emerging devices at the 2015 National Association of Broadcasters Show. This is not only due to their hi-tech robotics, but also because of the way they are already impacting broadcasting and many other sectors of the media industry.

Just a few months ago we observed the impact drones can have on live television. This past winter during X-Games 2015, the United States witnessed the first live aerial drone broadcast in sports history. It provided a never-before-seen perspective into the world of action sports.

Camera DroneWe interviewed Sergei Lupashin, founder and CEO of Perspective Robotics, at the 2015 NAB Show about the groundbreaking impact that drones will have on the media industry within the next few years.

“To me it is always interesting…the new and exciting ways that people are able to use this technology to capture new perspectives. You really don’t know where it’s going, so you can really be a part of that story of shaping the future.”

From tethered hybrid drones to 4K capable GPS enabled drones, these high-flying devices are reshaping the ways video is captured and distributed!

Spencer Hemann

FCC’s Wheeler Pitches Spectrum Auction to Broadcasters: But Should They Cash In?

Chairman Tom Wheeler opened his keynote address to the 2015 National Association of Broadcasters with nothing but praise and admiration for their profession, stating that they (broadcasters) offer their audiences a unique product that no other current emerging platform can give: local news and information.

Tom WheelerWheeler went on to describe his recent experience with various media outlets during the storms that rocked the north east this winter. “I used my weather channel app on my phone regularly,” Wheeler admitted. “But when I wanted information that really matters, when I wanted to find out what the real skinny was that was going to affect my life, I went to my local broadcasters.” He then closed his opening remarks of praise by pointing how the broadcasters “put themselves in danger” to service their community in the midst of the storm.

This was a lead in to his quick pitch at the NAB Show for the upcoming spectrum auction. In this spectrum auction, the FCC would sell licenses to transmit signals over specific bands of the electromagnetic spectrum to wireless providers, and then share the profits with broadcasters who are the current holders of the spectrum.

But new details regarding the forthcoming spectrum auction were surprisingly thin. Wheeler mentioned it will take place in early 2016, with the FCC accepting applications as early as this fall, and that they want to make it “more accommodating” for broadcasters.

SmartphoneWhat struck me as both odd and alarming was the absence of constructive criticism directed towards the traditional methods of broadcasting (both in Wheeler’s speech and throughout the entire show). Now, this isn’t to say there weren’t talks regarding the changing media landscape, but the topic of the potential industry-saving innovation from broadcasters (particularly television) were sparse. And, whatever discussion there was regarding the issues presented an array of underwhelming, short-term solutions.

There is no denying the truth that, as Chairman Wheeler pointed out, OTT services are beating out cable, and that consumers are pursuing alternatives to broadcast TV. But the question constantly on my mind is: how can broadcasters remain relevant well into the 21st century? And perhaps more important for broadcasters to explore, what role, if any, could this currently owned spectrum play in their reinvention?

Trends in media consumption changed radically last year, with digital viewing increasing at an impressive rate. According to a 2014 Nielsen report,  growth for digital viewing rose 53% for individuals ages 18 to 43 over the past year. In fact, this high growth of digital viewing is even more pronounced for older demographics with an 85.7% rise in 35 to 49 year olds and a 72.7% rise in 50 to 60 year olds. TV, on the other hand, saw a 4.2% average drop in adult screen use during the past year.

It is true this buyout of spectrum will potentially serve as a life preserver for a struggling broadcast station. But it also could, in my opinion, prematurely rule out any further advancement that may have otherwise utilized that spectrum (potential 4k and 3D capabilities being one).

As Wheeler described it, the spectrum auction is “a once in a lifetime, risk free opportunity to expand your business model on someone else’s dime.” But what if that business model requires that same spectrum to advance forward? To prematurely classify the auction as a “once in a lifetime opportunity” that would leave our wireless future in the fate of one obscure auction with a commodity is so abstract and unpredictable, should come across as frightening to broadcasters. It’s just too early to call.

TV wastelandIt is true this is not for me to decide. It’s for the each owner of spectrum to decide, given their unique circumstances. As a consumer and an academic observer I am highly interested in seeing potential expansion of broadcasting well beyond its conventional boundaries. I just hope that broadcasters retain an open mind in regards to the possibilities of “broadcasting” in the future, whatever that may look like. They need to find the courage to innovate, or they may perish.

Aaron Sprengeler

Low Budget, Pro Look: How to make your Media Look Professional

How can I spend a little, but get a lot?

That is the question for thousands of filmmakers at the 2015 National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas. And it is an ongoing question for college students and young filmmakers across the country.

While we saw plenty of professional grade cameras and equipment from companies like RED and ARRI, we took a deeper look into what “prosumer” technology has to offer.

CameraBrand new equipment at the Show this year included Canon’s XC10, a small professional grade camera that is similar to the Panasonic Lumix GH4 and the Sony A7s. All of these cameras are under $2500 and will shoot in stunning 4K resolution.

By creating simpler, less expensive cameras these businesses open their target audience up to a new and younger market. These cameras also work with professional editing software such as Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premiere Pro, and Avid.

Another big topic in the film and videography world this year was the proliferation of drones. Aerial technology is sweeping the country, making it easy and relatively cheap to attach a lightweight camera, such as a GoPro, and send it into the sky for a perfect high-in-the-sky shot.

So how do you make a low budget movie look professional?

With affordable equipment and creativity, anything is possible. By going the extra mile, by putting in the time, and by obtaining the necessary resources, you can slowly gain experience and work your way up the ladder.

-Austin Hansen

 

Radio | Pro Audio: Professional Technology Available to Everyone

As the General Manager of a tiny Midwestern college radio station, stepping foot inside the “Radio | Pro Audio” display area at the National Association of Broadcasters Show was like a kid getting into a multi-million dollar candy store. With a wealth of audio consoles, microphones, automation technology and more, I could not get enough of what the audio world had to offer.

First of all, the technology was newer than new. 94.5 KULT, the University of Northern Iowa’s student radio station that I am a part of, was fortunate enough to get their hands on some new tech devices that we desperately needed. However, the shiny toys that I played with at the show were far beyond a lot of the radio stations I have toured in Iowa, let alone itty-bitty KULT.

The first booth I visited was the high-end audio technology called Wheatstone, and it was by far the most intriguing and expensive radio-only booth I experienced. As soon as I entered the carpeted area in the middle of the Audio floor I was offered a quick tour and a seemingly unlimited amount of information about products in a college station’s price range.

Wheatstone

I wanted to check out the Wheatstone booth because I was familiar with the brand. I had the privilege of exploring Iowa Public Radio’s studio on UNI’s campus, and they had new Wheatstone audio consoles in almost every production room and live booth. They were beautiful. Experiencing the sleek, professional look and impeccable audio quality of the units was quite a treat.

My next stop was to examine state-of-the-art microphones at the Sony and Solid State Logic booths. In both of places, I met professionals and students that I either knew, or were following the nearly identical career path I was focusing on. Solid State Logic’s CEO and creator is Piers Plaskitt, a seasoned technology pro with amazing equipment to offer. Not only does his daughter attend UNI, but he has been based in the Des Moines area for quite sometime. And although I thoroughly enjoyed surrounding myself with industry professionals and the movers and shakers of the media world, it was a breath of fresh air to meet someone located so close to home. It was really surprising to meet and greet several audio professionals from Iowa. They came to the Show for the same reasons our group did: to soak up as much information as possible and to network. But they are also leaps and bounds ahead of us students, and to gather insight from them was an even more satisfying win.

Radio BoardIn the gigantic, dimly lit Sony area (calling it a “booth” does not do it justice), I took a gander at some of Sony’s audio equipment that would exponentially improve KULT’s sound and style. While there, I met a fellow student from the University of Texas who was involved in her student radio station back home. We were both going for an internship at National Public Radio, truly a dream internship for college media and journalism students. We swapped stories of our favorite Ira Glass moments (the NPR host of “This American Life”) and compared our two student-run radio outlets.

If I needed another reason to validate the statement that “Radio is far from dead,” I had it. The millions of dollars of audio equipment and radio technology that I experienced was that strong reason. The radio industry not only has confident and visionary leaders at the wheel, but radio also has beautiful and powerful technology, some of the best that companies had to offer at this year’s NAB Show.

- Brendan Wood

Strategies for Success in Radio Sales

Gerry Tabio is a renowned media consultant, and founder and President of Creative Resources, a company he has operated for more than 25 years. At the 2015 National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas, Tabio hosted a session titled, “7 Ways to Leverage Clients Needs Analysis for Radio Success.”

Gerry TabioTabio began his speech, by joking that he has “been around the media industry since the dinosaurs roamed Earth,” and that he has spent the last 30 years of his career working with salespeople and sales managers, primarily in radio. Tabio maintains a phenomenal stage presence, and it was clear to me that this man knew his stuff.

Early in his forty-minute opus Tabio hyped a best-selling publication from the Harvard Business Review, originally published in 1960, titled ‘Marketing Myopia’ by Theodore Levitt. Tabio gushed to the audience that Levitt’s grasp of marketing was timeless, and his ideas were very much relevant today.

“Earlier, someone asked, is the customer needs analysis changing? Yeah. The customer needs analysis has to change…The fundamental question here is, if we’re going to talk about the customer needs analysis, why are we doing one? To solve a problem and make a sale.”

The reason I attended Tabio’s session was to improve my craft of CNA’s, and to pick up any other useful marketing or sales tips. But Tabio also talked about the evils of programmatic advertising.

“People can buy your station without talking to You. And that’s becoming increasingly clear. As a matter of fact, we just got a double-barrelled announcement — right? Programmatic has arrived in radio. In a very big way! So here’s the thing; people don’t have to talk to you to buy a schedule on your station. As a matter of fact, it will be like Amazon. You will be doing business with Amazon — trust me. Amazon will be one of the owners of the programmatic companies. And your inventory will be for sale on Amazon. And you know what guys? I buy a lot of stuff from Amazon, and I don’t remember the last time I did a needs analysis with an Amazon representative.”

If that block of quote from Tabio isn’t a microphone drop in the world of radio sales presentations, then I don’t know left from right.

Tabio also denounced the relevance of doing a CNA at all given programmatic’s emergence:

“Imagine I get a call from Amazon and they want to do a needs analysis on my music tastes. I’d go, I’m good… They’re eclectic. Two days ago I bought rap, last night I bought some Sinatra. And you know what, I just go to (the mall/iTunes) and I buy it. I don’t need to talk to you.”

Finally, Tabio explained himself plainly:

“If a client can buy a schedule without talking to one of your people, then, what’s the purpose of a needs analysis?”

Interestingly enough, what happened after all this bashing of CNA’s was a thoughtful approach to CNA’s—they are about selling, and growing with clients.

“The purpose of your business is to create, and keep, customers. And to do that, you have to do things that make people WANT to do business with you. And my favorite part, the one that brought me to a screeching halt is, all other truths on this subject are derivative. You ask me a question, you tell me about your organization, whatever it is that we’re going to talk about, brings you back to those two truths. And I’m going to take a big risk here, because I have my own point of view, and I’m just going to change one word. I’m going to have the arrogance to change Theodore Levitt’s words, because there’s a word that’s very important to me. Look at the word KEEP. I think it’s the purpose of a business to create and GROW (not keep) a customer. And to do that, you have to make sure that you are doing things that are going to make those clients want to do business with you. Be eager to do business with you.”

Funny thing is, there was not a whole lot (if any) explanation as to what thing(s) can be done to cultivate a relationship with a sales prospect that provokes that ‘want’ to do business with you, the salesperson. The blame for this does not lie entirely on Tabio, however. This 45-minute session it was one of the shortest at the NAB Show. But why? I bet I speak for everyone in the room when I say I wanted—more importantly, needed—another 45 minutes of Tabio.

QUOTES (Other notable Gerry Tabio quotes)

“Sometimes you do not get access to a client because you act like a vendor. You’ve got to act like you’re part of their company.”
“You’re constantly thinking about opportunities they have, and you go to their locations, and you see what they’re doing, you read their websites, and subscribe to a google alert about their company.”

 

Cole Bair

My Top Five Experiences at the NAB Show

Each year a convention is held for the National Association of Broadcasters to showcase their ideas and newest gadgets. I had the amazing opportunity of attending the NAB Show in Las Vegas this year from April 12-15, 2015 with a department professor and ten other peers within the Media Leadership major at the University of Northern Iowa. My expectations were greatly surpassed in all aspects, from the amazing tech tools and equipment displayed to the informative sessions we attended each day to learn all we could about the growing industry.

When walking into any of the four HUGE halls of the convention center, I wasn’t sure exactly what to do first or where to start my journey at the NAB Show. But after jumping into a few informative and entertaining sessions and visiting multiple exhibits and booths, I found out pretty quickly that there is truth behind the saying “time flies when you are having fun!” Here’s a look at my top five experiences at the NAB Show 2015!

5) Experiencing the Canon 4K Theatre

Canon used their 4K theatre to show NAB goers the newest technology in cameras and what it looks like on the big screen. Canon is soon releasing their newest gadget with 4K technology in the form of their professional-use 4K video camcorder, the XF-AVC. This new camera allows for more compact storage of video files, and works across various stages of the production process, from shooting to editing. It was really neat to see what progress is being made in the industry and what we can look forward to as developments continue to happen.

4) Meeting Adam Epstein, the “Saturday Night Live” Editor

adam epsteinWe sat in a session with Adam where he gave us the crazy details on the short film process with the Saturday Night Live crew. He discussed how working on a project that takes a year or two to finish compares to working on the weekly short films created in only 4-5 days for the SNL show each Saturday Night. For example, you might have a few weeks to take dozens of different shots with different angles and make the decision on which shot to go with, whereas with an SNL short film he may only have a few minutes to take all the shots they can and later in editing have a few more minutes to make the decision on which of the five shots to go with. When working at such a fast pace, like he does with the SNL short film crew, there isn’t much time for making decisions and wavering between “yes” and “no,” so he believes when working with such tight deadlines you have to learn how to go with your gut and keep on your toes.

3) Seeing Documentarian Morgan Spurlock

After seeing the movie Super Size Me, I was intrigued to hear from the man responsible for the film. He discussed how success sprouted from this simple documentary film, leading to his two documentary series “The 30 Day Challenge” and “Inside Man”. I also learned how he uses unique marketing tactics to advertise companies that may not otherwise be related to the video. For example, GE sponsored a Focus Forward Short Film Documentary about two women who have created a bike helmet that deploys when impact is detected. I was also very impressed with all of the additional documentaries he has been working on since, such as The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, and I’m anxious to check out more of them!

2) Attending the “Women in New Media” Panel

I had the privilege of listening to an accomplished panel of women talk about how they reached their success. Jenn Page (filmmaker and founder of production company Luminave Films), Jenna Edwards (independent writer, producer, and owner of “Create with Jenna” website), Kristen Nedopak (host of Geek Awards, actress, screenwriter, producer, director), and Sandra Payne (director, screenwriter, and producer at SPwrite Productions, LLC), answered questions regarding women’s roles in new media categories, such as podcasting, filmmaking, blogging, and documenting. Women are naturally social beings and we have our own stories and perspectives that we believe should be shared to the world, and therefore we have a lot to offer in the form of video and audio output mediums. These women shared stories that were both were inspiring and encouraging, not only to me as a woman, but also as an aspiring independent media producer.

1) GoPro

I had heard about GoPro cameras before attending the NAB Show, but knew them only as small cameras for attaching to a helmet to capture sporty videos. But I learned GoPro has so much more than that! With all of the supplementary add-ons and neat features and tricks you can use the Hero4 to capture just the right shot. They showed a neat compilation video on how the camera can be used underwater, attached to a helmet or your wrist, and even use the time lapse or slow motion features to customize your video. After exploring the exhibit and seeing the amazing quality of video and photos this little guy captures, I was hooked, and now I have to have one!

Of course this wasn’t all that I saw on the trip, but these are the highlights of my reel. It seemed like there wasn’t enough time in my three days at the convention to see all that there was to see. But we certainly made the most of our trip!

Ali Holtz

Women In Media: An Interview with Sandra Payne

One of the most inspiring sessions at the National Association of Broadcasters Show was the Women in New Media Session. I originally expected the session to talk about the struggles women were facing in the media industry and offer some cliches about what we can do to overcome the sexism we face. However, this session was full of strong, empowered women who discussed their achievements. The panelists were skilled filmmakers, internet content creators, producers, hosts, and writers (who were accomplished in more than just one area). They discussed how they got their projects off the ground, how they marketed for their projects, and why they chose their career path. The main focus of the session, and how the professionals were able to pursue their passions, was networking to break into the media industry.

Jenn Page
Jenn Page

Jenn Page, one of the talented panelists, emphasized the problems women faced, “as women, we get in trouble because we are nurturers, we want people to like us, and we say ‘yes’ to too much shit.” As women who wish to break into the industry, she suggests asking for help. “Don’t be scared to ask because the worst that can happen is ‘no;’ ask for help and build a community [of women who will help]” Page expressed. So basically, stop being such a Regina George. Women will change the face of the media industry (and society in general) by bonding together and lifting each other up.

Sandra Payne
Sandra Payne

We had the honor of interviewing another panelist, Sandra Payne, an LA-based writer, director, producer, and owner of PurseDog.TV, who wholeheartedly agreed with networking with other women. “We need to continue on the path of making our own opportunities,” Payne said. “[Women bring] so much to media. We need a balance of how life is approached, and women provide the balance. If everything is male-centric, you lose a lot of wisdom and you lose a lot of what the world needs: our compassion, our ability to be inclusive… which is an important thing in media.” Payne is the prime example of a strong woman in media that the session discussed; in an interview she gave us, she touched on her struggles to pursue her passion, not the gender-based complications she had faced. Payne did not think of herself as a female writer, director, producer and owner; she holds all of these accolades without any reference to her gender (as if gender impacts the ability to hold a career in any field… LOL). I think this attitude is incredibly important for the millenial generation of women to embrace. As future industry pros, we are not relegated to female prefixes. “Media is how a lot of us experience the world,” Payne accurately observed. As women, we need to get our stories out there. Our gender is not a handicap; being women in media provides an incredible opportunity to join together, rise up, and kick ass.

Lauren Peterman

Tweets Aren’t News: What Millennials (Actually) Want

At the National Association of Broadcasters conference last week, I attended a session called Social Media and the Business of Live Television. During the Q&A section of the talk, a woman asked a question about the baffling new trend in television news where newscasters read tweets from viewers on air. Whether it be reactions to the current story, comments on the news cast, or just whatever some idiot decides to tweet while using the approved hashtag, news programs just can’t stop giving people their 15 minutes of fame.

The woman who asked the question wanted to know exactly why newscasters do this. She didn’t see the value of it, and judging from the sounds of approval, neither did the audience. They found it vapid, uninteresting, and just plain dumb. The response from the panel was essentially, “Yeah. It’s pretty dumb. We’re still going to do it though.” This was supplemented with other buzzword-filled answers such as: “Tweets are news now.” and “This is what millennials respond to.”

millennialI’m going to ask you to stop right there. I heard the word “millennial” way too much at the NAB Show. The definition of a “millennial” is “a person born in the 1980s or 1990s.” I fit that definition. So, as a “millennial,” as all you “old media” professionals love to call me, I would like to say, please stop telling me what I want instead of listening to what I’m telling you. You wonder why my generation doesn’t watch news on TV, why the percentage of news we get from television and broadcasting is approximately 0%. Well wonder no more, for I have your answer. We want you to do your job.

Don’t read tweets on the air. Don’t talk about the traffic this post is getting on Facebook. And for the love of God, don’t talk about whatever stupid video is “taking over the Internet.” You don’t want to do it. We don’t want to see it. We want news. Plain and simple.

Most young people who actually seek out news prefer to read it on the Internet rather than watch it. They get it from NPR, Politico, Slate, or even BuzzFeed. Can you guess why? Because in written stories, you don’t get bogged down with all the “shiny objects” that TV news is constantly trying to throw at you. We don’t need to be pandered to.

BarronsMillenials    Time_Millennial

In all boils down to the simple fact that tweets aren’t news. Tweets are people reacting to news. People who, in all likelihood, do not have journalism degrees or broadcasting experience. Their tweets are not fact-checked, their biases are not accounted for. They are not the journalists. You are. Don’t outsource your responsibilities to the masses. When you start reporting on tweets you are no longer reporting news. News is not a reaction to itself.

Look, we want the same thing. Trust me. I’ve heard many a middle-aged person get all nostalgic about Walter Cronkite. I don’t know if it’s possible to be nostalgic about something that you weren’t around to experience, but I definitely feel something very similar to that. All I want is for someone to sit down and tell me the truth for 30 minutes. All I want is for journalists to do their jobs.

Olivia Guns