Make Radio New Again

During his remarks at the National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas Monday, NAB President David Rehr didn't have much to say about satellite radio.

Rehr did touch on the pending merger between XM and Sirius, a deal broadcasters have been vigorously fighting inside and outside of Washington, D.C. He complained that a combined satellite radio entity "will control more spectrum than the entire FM dial. Think about that for a minute."

Yet during his speech, Rehr acknowledged how the larger audio business is becoming more competitive, thanks to platforms like the internet and iPods. He vowed that the traditional radio industry is ready to battle for consumers.

"We are going to make radio new again. We will be reinvigorated. We will remind our listeners, and ourselves, of the value of this great medium," Rehr told attendees during a speech at the NAB convention.

While AM/FM radio has emphasized its local programming, Rehr said it's important for the medium to make a connection with listeners.

"If you're listening to radio, you want to hear a human voice sharing that same moment in time that you are. There is power in that personal bond," he said. "A CD doesn't have that connection. An iPod doesn't have it. No, our model is not broken."

Rehr also said attitudes about HD Radio, the industry's digital audio platform, are changing. "We still have a lot of work to do on this, but we are certainly headed in the right direction," the NAB executive said of the technology.