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OPINION APRIL 23 , 2001
Talkin' Smack: Your NAB Agenda

Buffy's in, baseball is out

by David Nagel
Executive Producer
[email protected]

So, of course, it's NAB time again. With or without the major broadcast networks' support, the event continues, its significance undiminished by the pullout of CBS over differences of opinion on the O&O issue. Still the industry gets together and confers with itself as always; new technologies emerge to replace the old (or at least the promise to replace the old some time within the next year, give or take a few years) as always; and the show goes on as always.

It's an important time for production folk. As has been the case with the last few conventions, this year's will mark yet another stage of advancement in digital content creation, not just in terms of the technological achievements going on but in terms of the prevalence of digital work in all facets of commercial production.

It's an important time for the Mac as well, what with our superplatform dominating all things creative. Hey, that's not just propaganda either. It turns out it's true. Can you beat that? And, of course, this means more goodies for the Mac coming out of this year's NAB show.

Yes, it's quite an exciting time to be both a creative professional and a Mac psychofanatic. Unfortunately, I won't actually be at the show. Yes, all of my colleagues from DMN will be there, but I'm sitting this one out.

"But Dave," you say, "how can this be possible? I need you there. You're my spiritual representative out there on the show floor. All the rest of your DMN colleagues are peecee-using jerks."

I know my colleagues are all jerks, dear reader, but they're not all peecee users. And there's no reason to be worrying about my lack of attendance.

"How so?" you query. "You are supposed to be there to look out for us, to lobby for us, to be our eyes and ears and voices. How can we get anything accomplished in your stead? We have not your charisma. We do not have any of your qualities of crowd manipulation. We don't have your standing in the industry. Heck, we don't even know your agenda. How are we supposed to get your stuff done for you?"

Good points, all of those, dear reader. But you are wrong in one instance. You will have my agenda. And it will be your duty to bone up on your charisma skills to accomplish this agenda. I know this is late notice, but you are now responsible for accomplishing all the things I had hoped to accomplish myself for the world of broadcasting.

"You're going to share your secret agenda with us?"

For the first—and possibly only—time, I will indeed share my secret NAB agenda with you. But do not call it "my" agenda. It is now "yours," and, with it, you will change the fate broadcasting.

"This is a heavy responsibility. Do you think we are ready for it?"

No. I certainly do not. But I have no choice. Now follow these agenda items, and make sure you get each one accomplished for me—for you—for the industry. This agenda contains major changes for the future of broadcasting.

The Secret Agenda
How We Will Change the Broadcast Industry

1. First on the agenda, of course, is the Buffy issue. This is probably the most major issue in broadcasting today, and I'd like you to dedicate at least 70 percent of your effort toward this. We must make certain that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is never again preempted by a baseball game, as it was last week by the Los Angeles WB affiliate.

2. The next agenda item has to do with local news. I don't know where you live, but it doesn't really matter since all local news is exactly the same. Police department press releases. A warehouse catches fire. Elderly couple slain. Bla bla. I don't really care about that stuff, which is one of the reasons I never watch local news, the other being the invariably crappy writing. However, occasionally the local news does spill over into the few programs I do normally watch in the broadcast spectrum, such as The Simpsons, Futurama and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Usually these spillovers are in the form of live police chases. That's fine. It's kind of fun to watch. But here's the thing: I'm tired of hearing the anchors and reporters taking the side of the police. For example, they'll often refer to 80 miles per hour as a "high-speed chase" and "risking the lives of other drivers." Man, that's how fast I'm going when I pull into my garage. Hardly "high-speed." And how can you not cheer for the fugitive? Here's a guy who wouldn't go quietly just because some guy with a badge and neatly trimmed mustache told him to. If I had my own state, the flag would show a wrecked minivan with the slogan "Hot Pursuit!" So let's hear it for the fugitive, news people!

3. Now this third one is a topic close to my heart. It involves public service announcements. First off, anti-tobacco government propaganda should not be considered "public service." It's designed to create an environment for raising taxes on tobacco. Same with anti-alcohol ads. As for anti-drug ads, well, I don't really know what they're designed to do. They don't raise taxes, and they don't curb drug use, so I'm kind of stymied by them. At any rate, no more government PSAs. If you can't pull this one off, at least try to bargain for equal time for opposing viewpoints.

4. No more caving in to the FCC, you sissies. It's not even a constitutional organization. Put in a little effort, and bring those regulators down!

5. Your final task is to bring me back as much stuff from the show as you can carry. Since I'm not going to be there, I'm going to miss out on all the great tchotchkes. It's especially tough since NAB is probably the best show for Mac-related freebies.

Well, that's about it. I know this seems like a pretty short agenda, but, frankly, I don't watch much broadcast TV. Now you have your mission. Get to it!

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Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of the Creative Mac, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion and Synthetik Studio Artist WWUGs; and executive producer of Creative Mac, Digital Media Designer, Digital Pro Sound, Digital Webcast, Plug-in Central, Presentation Master, ProAudio.net and Video Systems sites. All are part of the Digital Media Net family of online industry hubs.

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