Shonda Rhimes Inducted into the NAB Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
By: Fredwill Hernandez
A little over a week has passed since approximately 103,042 attendees walked through the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Center (LVCC), for the 2015 NAB Show (The National Association of Broadcasters), held from April 11-16, 2015.
Excitement around events like the ShowStoppers@NAB Show press reception held Sun. – April 12, at the Wynn Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, set the stage for the show floor opening (Mon. – April 13) and the start of the show, and with so much taking place during the show many are probably still processing what they heard, learned, and seen.
Besides opening day highlights which include NAB’s Pres. and CEO, Gordon Smith’s annual NAB State of the Industry Opening Keynote, where he made comparison of the radio and broadcast industries today, as they were 5 years ago when he took over as NAB’s Pres. and CEO, a lot more took place during the show.
“Thank you all for being here. It was five years ago, almost to this day that I spoke on this very stage at my first NAB Show as the new president and CEO. I talked about the issues that could change radio and television broadcasting as we knew it, as I discussed the forces impacting our industry, it was hard to predict what the future would hold for us. Back then, our critics were writing us off as yesterday’s technology, foreseeing a diminished future for radio and TV,” eloquently expressed Smith. “Fast forward five years, and I can now say with great certainty: Broadcast radio and television are more important today than they have ever been. Now, you may be asking yourself, what makes this statement truer today, than last year, or even five years ago? The answer lies in understanding peoples’ consumption of content – where they’re getting it and what they’re getting. Today, people like you and me are bombarded with overwhelming amounts of information that come from an array of platforms.”
As he gave examples of what information people might be getting, he pointed out that despite what happens to other sources of news and information television and radio broadcasting will still be present and relevant, and that in 2010, there were over 200 million websites, today there are nearly 1 billion.
Smith, also touched on the importance of the next generation, and encouraged attendees to walk the floor and take in the many innovations that are on display, such as innovative start-ups at SPROCKIT, for the first time at the show, the drone pavilion, or the cloud computing conference, to the 4K Ultra HDTV’s, or the demo of 8K super hi-vision on a 350 inch screen (with 22 channel sound).
“Broadcasting obviously does not exist in isolation, but as a vital piece of the dynamic and ever-changing media and entertainment landscape,” added Smith.
Smith, pointed out that the NAB Headquarters will be moving just minutes away from Congress in 2018, and that they plan to send a strong message to policy makers about the main issues and obstacles broadcasters are facing.
“Now, winning our legislative and regulatory battles on Capitol Hill and at the FCC ensures broadcasters will be able to capitalize on these innovations,” explained Smith. “That message includes ensuring new royalty rates that will fairly compensate artists while encouraging more radio stations to stream, fighting back a performance tax on local radio stations, working towards common-sense ownership rules that reflect today’s media landscape, and preventing pay TV companies from dismantling the retransmission consent process.
He also used the opportunity to touch on the Spectrum Auction, a market-driven retransmission consent framework, and hopes the FCC allows the market (players) involved to determine the prices.
Following the NAB State of the Industry Opening Keynote, funny man Jerry Lewis, was presented with the NAB Distinguished Service Award, for his career achievements that spans over 61 years and his 1,380 hours of television, and for his remarkable philanthropic efforts that have bettered the lives of thousands of children through Jerry’s Kids telethon that benefits the Muscular Dystrophy Association. As he (Lewis) put it, “if it wasn’t for you a lot of kids would be suffering worse.”
From there it was on to the next NAB Show opening day highlight, The NAB Show Television Luncheon, Sponsored by RBC Capital Markets, and was hosted by Scott Foley, who stars as Jake Ballard on ABC’s hit drama “Scandal.”
Longtime family friend to broadcaster and veteran broadcasting advocate Lowell “Bud” Paxson, entertainer Wayne Newton, gave kind words as he remembered his friend, before introducing actress Sharon Stone, who express the bond she also had, remembering and honoring him posthumously.
“Is so great to be introduced by Wayne Newton in Las Vegas,” enthusiastically expressed Stone. “If you asked Bud, and I had the pleasure to ask Bud many things, many times. When I asked Bud, what was the key to his success with the things he did? He would always say he was always go (and talk) to his God. He was a devout, a devout Christian, and everything he did he talked over with his God. Many people use their religion as a tent pole, or use it to not do things. Bud used his relationship with his God to do things, to kick down doors against racism, to protect children, to be fair. Bud would spend more than he needed to spend in a deal, to be fair, to be good, to be kind, and then Bud ended up being a winner because he looked at the big picture, and in Bud’s big picture, being good, meant being great. Bud was a great man, a pillar of the community, and where he lived in his comfort vacation time in Glasgow, Montana, when Bud died, the local volunteer fireman went down to the fire station pulled the fire truck out in the snow (by himself) and stood on top of the flag post, and lowered the flag at half mass all alone and stood in salute by himself, that is the kind of respect that Bud Paxson endeared, everywhere. That is what I think it means to live in the truth of your own spirit, in the truth of what goodness means to you. Bud was an example of when good becomes great, because you stand in the truth of your place. It’s such an honor to be here to represent Bud, because Bud represented everything that was good. I get the great, great (great) honor to stand here along with Wayne and introduced Bud’s beautiful wife and our family’s very (very) dear friend Mrs. Marla Paxson.”
“It is such an honor to be here today on behalf of the Paxson Family, we are all here, and all our friends who have flown in to be here and support me, thank you so much. I have to give a special thank you to Wayne Newton, who had his knee done, what four days ago, that’s a great friend, and Sharon (Stone) to take time from filming, it means so much to me thank you,” emotionally expressed Mrs. Paxson. “I want to thank the NAB for this amazing award. Bud was such a advocate for broadcasters. I want to think I was the love of his life, but I think it was broadcasting. It was also a special time for us because his birthday always fell during the NAB Convention, we had some fun parties Dean Goodman. So it was a very (very) special time for us and he would be so honored over this, and I am so proud to be here and get it.”
As the excitement in the room and the program continued, it was on to other honorees, among them Tracee Ellis Ross, who was honored with the distinguished NAB Television Chairman’s Award.
“Wow thank you so much, NAB thank you, I feel so honored. It was funny watching my work, I’m such a nutt, oh my God, silly lady. My middle name, my actual middle name is Joy, Tracee Joy Silberstein is how I was born and as you can tell I came out the womb as a silly lady. I feel really honored. I love what I do. One of the first television shows I did was on Lifetime, it was a show called The Dish and the theme song of the show I sang and it went like this, ‘Cuz I’m a tv girl, I live in your tv, and I’m a tv girl,’ and it went on for m there. I really feel I have always been a lover of tv and I feel so honored and humbled that I get to do this and be on tv every week, I grew up watching Lucy and Carol Burnett, they were my heroes. I was raised in a way that there was a appropriate way to be and an appropriate way to stand, and I loved beautiful clothes, and when I saw Caroll Burnett and Lucy, and realized I could wear beautiful clothes and be silly, I thought oh my goodness, I been given permission to be myself,” enthusiastically and humbly expressed Ross.
Without a speech prepared Ross, spoke from the heart, elaborating how who she grew up watching tv and there were always strong extraordinary women, how she thinks movies are great but loves tv, and how she has been blessed to be on more than one show at a time, and being proud of the cultural impact the shows she been a part of have had.
“To be a woman of color in this industry, and to continue to get the opportunity to play roles that are not about being a super women, but about being just a women. About being a woman that reflects all of the women in our world, in their fullness, in their beauty, in their strength, in their power, in their femininity, and in their smallness, and in their bigness, and all of it, it is such a blessing to me,” added Ross. “I love the idea of diversity on television and the idea of forced diversity is important because we are balancing the scale, but I love the idea of telling the truth and having television reflect the world we live in, and reflect the world I live in, my family is completely diverse.”
Another highlight of the NAB Television Luncheon, included Shonda Rhimes, among other things, creator and executive producer of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” being inducted into the 2015 NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
“Everyone makes a big deal about how I broke all these barriers in terms of diversity, so I know that I have to talk about it. In Shondaland, our shows look like how the world looks. Everyone can see themselves when they turn on the TV on Thursday nights on ABC. To me that was not some difficult, brave, special decision I made. It was a human one, because I am a human. It wasn’t something we had to bravely fight for, because ABC is also full of humans,” eloquently and bravely expressed Rhimmes. “This is not the Jim Crow south. We’re not ignorant, so why wouldn’t we do that [write, produce and cast that way]? I still can’t believe I get asked about it all the time, as if being normal, TV looking like the normal world, is an innovation. You’d think people be embarrassed to think so, embarrassed to ask those questions in the 21st century, write about that, write about the people asking the questions.”
“I may be Shonda, but she is the land,” in reference to her producing business and executive producer partner Betsy Beers, who Rhimes credits with part of her success.
Rhimes closed her acceptance speech by adding, “As television writers we all really want to entertain, but we also want it to mean something, we want to leave behind some permanent footprints on the landscape, being inducted into the NAB Hall of Fame is a very big footprint, thank you.”
Opening day highlights would not be complete with out mentioning companies eager to unveil new cool stuff at NAB, among them was Sennheiser Electronic Corporation, who was unveiling their AVX microphone system for video cameras, and the two new digital clip-mic’s, the ClipMic Digital and also the MKE2, both created in conjunction with Apogee.
“The AVX ships in June, it will be $899.00 retail, it’s a totally new system from Sennheiser, it’s dital, 1.9 GHz is going to be the frequency we’re going to be operating on,” explained Stephen Bennett, Area Sales Manager, Professional Systems. “The great thing about it, it’s super simple to use, basically it’s a plug and play. Plug the product into the camera, turn on the transmitter and you are ready to go. It’s constantly searching for the best signal, so it’s interrupted, outdoors the range is probably 30 to 40 meters, indoors is probably half that. We are really happy with the frequency response and the range we are going to get, it’s going to work well.”
Drones who have become a hot topic recently had their own section at the show under the new Aerial Robotics and Drone Pavilion.
Ontario, Ca., based Yuneec Electric Aviation, was also unveiling two new versions of their popular, sophisticated, and exciting Typhoon Q500, a complete aerial photography and videography (APV) system drone, the Typhoon Q500+ and the Typhoon Q500-4K, both featuring the new Steadygrip CG03 system which combines a 3 axis precision gimbal Yuneec’s 4K UHD video camera, allowing you to capture amazing and stable video footage.
Another cool company in its fourth year returning to the NAB Show, whose services are being used by The White House, NASA, and even the NAB, among others to track their hashtags is Hashtracking, which tracks predominately (#) hashtags for Twitter and Instagram.
“We give you analytics around Twitter and Instagram (twitts, impressions, likes, comments) all that kind of information, easy fun way to read the data,” explained Charlie Jeffers, Chief Sales Officer, Hashtracking. “You can set up a report with us in 15 seconds, it’s not like you have to get trained and have some intern leave and you don’t get your information. We are really affordable, and we give you all the data, which a lot of companies don’t. Our pricing model is based on the amount of hashtags you track, low as $29 dollars a month, or as high as $1000 dollars a month. For $29 dollars a month you can track any three hashtags during that month, so you can track any three, save that data and change them, you then can make up three new hashtags and keep tracking them within that month period, and you can cancel your service with us anytime you like.”
About NAB Show
NAB Show, held April 11-16, 2015 in Las Vegas, is the world’s largest electronic media show covering the creation, management and delivery of content across all platforms. With more than 98,000 attendees from 150 countries and 1,600+ exhibitors, NAB Show is the ultimate marketplace for digital media and entertainment. From creation to consumption, across multiple platforms and countless nationalities, NAB Show is home to the solutions that transcend traditional broadcasting and embrace content delivery to new screens in new ways. For complete details, visit www.nabshow.com