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October 4, 2006
Dennis Wharton
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Rehr Declares Broadcasting as 'Overwhelming Choice' of Media in America

--NAB Chief Takes Aim At Competition's Hype, Hails Broadcaster's Digital Future--

WASHINGTON, DC - Addressing the National Press Club in Washington today, NAB President and CEO David K. Rehr outlined his vision for the future of broadcasting and reasserted broadcast television and radio's position as the overwhelming choice of media in America.

Most Americans, said Rehr, "are unaware of the dramatic changes taking place" in broadcasting. He conceded that local stations have "inadvertently relinquished some of the excitement occurring in broadcasting to our competitors. That ends today, because we have a very compelling story to tell."

Rehr said that "by any measure, broadcasting remains the undisputed leader in news and entertainment."

Specifically, Rehr noted that for the 2005-2006 TV season:

  • Broadcast programming accounted for the top 235 highest-rated programs. (an ESPN football game held the top cable program at 236.)
  • In the highly-coveted 18-49 age demographic, broadcast television aired the top 184 programs and was responsible for 512 of the top 522 highest-rated programs.

Rehr also took aim at "misperceptions" about satellite radio, which he said has "done a good job" hyping a still-unprofitable product. Rehr reminded his audience that:

  • Satellite radio's alleged 12 million subscribers compares to 260 million local radio listeners per week.
  • Sirius counts on its customer list some 500,000 "subscribers" derived from "empty cars that sit in dealer parking lots."
  • Recent questions regarding XM's subscriber counting methods has prompted an inquiry from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Local TV news - the lifeblood of over-the-air broadcasting - continues to far outperform its cable competition, Rehr noted. Calling the comparison "not even close," he cited May 2006 ratings in Spokane, Washington to demonstrate broadcasting's news dominance over cable.

"The combined viewership for five Comcast Spokane cable newscasts available at 6 p.m. was 994. That's a total of 994 Comcast subscribers watching CNBC, CNN, Fox News Channel, Headline News and MSNBC," Rehr said. "This compares with a viewership of 38,500 people for the three local broadcast newscasts at 6 p.m."

Rehr said both radio and TV broadcasters are "seizing the digital future" through the transition to digital TV and HD Radio. A full copy of the Rehr speech can be viewed here.

About NAB
The National Association of Broadcasters is a trade association that advocates on behalf of more than 8,300 free, local radio and television stations and also broadcast networks before Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and the Courts. Information about NAB can be found at


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