A Conversation With Curtis LeGeyt | TV Tech

WASHINGTON—Earlier this yr, Gordon Smith, who has led the National Association of Broadcasters as its CEO for greater than a decade, introduced his retirement.  Curtis LeGeyt, NAB’s present chief working officer, has been appointed as the subsequent president and CEO of the group.LeGeyt—who is ready to take over Jan. 1—has been with NAB for practically a decade, beforehand serving 5 years as NAB’s government vp, Government Relations, earlier than taking up his present function as COO.TV Tech lately talked with LeGeyt on his new function and the challenges dealing with NAB and broadcasters in a quickly altering media panorama.TV Tech: Congratulations in your new job, Curtis. You come to NAB at a difficult time for the printed business. What do you see as the most important challenges dealing with NAB proper now?Curtis LeGeyt: This is a time of simply great disruption, each within the media panorama, and in Washington D.C. Our members each on the tv and radio facet are grappling with the best way that the big tech corporations have upended their relationship with their viewers. So as an advocacy group, we wish to make sure that sooner or later, native tv broadcasters have the power to achieve their viewers, to spend money on domestically targeted content material and  investigative journalism. That enterprise mannequin is existential proper now, and the tech platforms are altering each factor of each that relationship with our audiences, and our relationship with our advertisers so that could be a main, main problem for the business. At the identical time, Washington D.C. is a city that’s swept up in political division, and we have to make sure that as an business that we proceed to remind policymakers that whether or not Republican or Democrat, all of us register native, we’re serving constituents no matter political affiliation, and we have to lower by that partisanship, as a result of there are members on either side of the aisle that on the finish of the day wish to guarantee a thriving broadcast business. So that’s actually the problem on each fronts.TVT: How has the pandemic affected broadcasting typically, NAB and the NAB Show and associated business occasions?CL: It is not any shock that our business has been challenged by COVID, each in a really sensible and day-to-day method. There’s by no means been extra strain on native stations throughout the nation to serve their communities with very related, hyper-focused info on what are the principles of the highway for native companies, what’s happening with faculty closures, how can I’m going and get a COVID take a look at, the place can I be vaccinated, how protected are these vaccines, and so forth.So the function of native broadcasting has by no means been extra vital, however on the identical time if you end up an business that depends on native companies for promoting revenues, there are some inherent challenges there. But I believe the printed business goes to return out the opposite facet of this even stronger as a result of we actually used the final 18 months to reaffirm our model. But that strain on the financials, particularly on the promoting facet places an actual impetus on the necessity for NAB to ship actual rapid coverage outcomes. And so the truth that we had been in a position to safe Covid reduction final yr for each native broadcast station within the nation that needed to take Congress up on it, to assist make sure that these stations had been in a position to preserve their native staff on payroll, was a really, very vital lifeline for the business. The indisputable fact that we’ve been in a position to preserve regulatory charges at bay—only in the near past, the FCC rolled again a earlier proposal to extend charges on the printed business this yr—these are the sorts of issues we’re very targeted on. We’re at all times going to have these large image battles round retransmission consent, and round spectrum, for instance, however what COVID has achieved is it has actually heightened our concentrate on delivering some short-term wins for the business after we want it. Regarding the NAB Show, we labored very arduous to attempt to ship an occasion that exhibitors, attendees and our business could be pleased with. Unfortunately, there have been too many components exterior of our management that prevented us from internet hosting the kind of occasion that our group has come to count on. We are extremely dissatisfied about having to cancel the present, however it’s in the end the fitting name, contemplating well being and security considerations and our need to fulfill the expectations of our exhibitors and attendees.I’m grateful to our companions and all who poured their hearts into making an attempt to place collectively an in-person conference within the face of extraordinary challenges. We will proceed to attach with the NAB Show group by NAB Amplify and we’re channeling our focus in direction of delivering an ideal 2022 NAB Show in April in Las Vegas that will get our business again to doing enterprise face-to-face.   TVT: It’s not hyperbole to foretell that the way forward for tv as we all know it’s OTT. How do native broadcasters keep related on this altering panorama, notably since tv now could be principally a streaming platform?CL: Well, little doubt we should be accessible wherever and nonetheless viewers wish to entry our content material and so I believe the improvements that you just’re seeing throughout the business, starting from streaming platforms to the funding in ATSC 3.0 are designed to make sure that we’re not going to overlook a beat in relation to consumersI assume our aggressive benefit within the media panorama is our ‘hyperlocal’ focus and the native station’s means to make sure that viewers stay linked to the communities wherein they stay. The expertise of COVID, over the past 18 months, I believe underscores the relevance and reliance that viewers have on our stations.  Curtis LeGeyt and Gordon Smith (Image credit score: NAB)TVT: Are you happy with the rollout of ATSC 3.0 thus far?CL: We’re actually inspired that so many stations are up and working with their deployments, particularly in mild of the challenges that COVID has dropped at bear over the course of the final yr and a half. It has slowed the tempo of transition considerably, however we are going to nonetheless get NextGen TV deployed in 60 tv markets, reaching roughly three quarters of the nation over the course of the subsequent few months. Moreover, we’re inspired by the truth that the business has actually coalesced round what has been an amazing endeavor, the place you’ve acquired so many unbiased companies making their very own willpower about the place they wish to make investments their innovation {dollars}. So getting everyone rowing in the identical path was an amazing problem and there’s pleasure across the client advantages, in addition to, frankly, the expertise that we will present for our promoting enterprise companions, so we’re very inspired.TVT: What steps is NAB taking to assist lower elevated variety possession and supply extra numerous opinions to their native communities?CL: This is an absolute precedence for the NAB and for the business as a complete as a result of to stay dominant gamers within the media panorama, our native stations must replicate the communities that they serve. And we’re actively pushing that ahead in actually three other ways.The first is because it pertains to our advocacy. We are working like heck proper now to attempt to get traction across the variety tax certificates program. This is a program that existed up till the mid Nineteen Nineties on the FCC that incensed the sale of broadcast belongings to numerous possession teams, and we’re actively engaged on Capitol Hill as these packages are coming collectively round infrastructure round spending, to make sure that this tax certificates program is a part of these conversations, because it pertains to the business.Our management basis runs a broadcast management coaching program that’s anchored in making certain that that there’s better variety within the management ranks of our business, and ensuring {that a} numerous set of latest expertise throughout the business is supplied with not solely the substantive information however the relationships that they should do to advance and be the subsequent leaders for the business. And then lastly final yr the NAB appointed a brand new Chief Diversity Officer, Michelle Duke who actually spearheads our board’s emphasis on variety, fairness and inclusion, ensuring that as we’re growing our broad agenda throughout coverage components, that there is a numerous perspective within the room, each from a board perspective and from a management perspective at our organizations. All of these items are high of thoughts and making certain that the business’s acquired the instruments that it must finest signify the communities they serve.TVT: With the networks closely concerned with launching their very own streaming providers that give them a extra direct path to getting their programming to viewers, how do you assume that impacts the relationships between the networks and associates?  CL: I believe there stays an especially sturdy mutual respect between the printed networks, and the printed associates. They are in barely totally different companies, for lots of the explanations that you just simply articulated, however there’s additionally a recognition that there’s a mutual want right here and that the networks’ native associates stay an indispensable useful resource and enterprise accomplice in reaching and maximizing their means to the touch viewers throughout the nation. One factor that we actually emphasize on the NAB is the necessity for unity between the community’s and the associates, which Gordon [Smith] deserves a number of credit score for. I believe because it pertains to our message in Washington, and albeit our message to customers across the worth of broadcast, is that the networks and the associates are completely in lockstep, which as you understand, has not at all times been the case at NAB. 

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