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Fritts predicts at NAB meet: b’casters here to stay

Traditional over-the-air broadcasting will remain a dominant force in the multimedia world of tomorrow, National Assn. of Broadcasters prexy Eddie Fritts promised in a speech kicking off the 1994 NAB convention here.

Fritts dismissed suggestions that telephone and cable TV companies may render broadcasters obsolete if the information superhighway rhetoric lives up to its hype.

“To paraphrase a prominent broadcaster, I predict that in tomorrow’s race for the gold, Marconi will give Alexander Graham Bell a real run for his money,” said Fritts.

‘It’s now’

Broadcasting, Fritts reminded, is “universal, accessible, mobile, pervasive, wireless, absolutely free … and it’s now. With the proper regulatory structure … and the flexibility for innovative use of our spectrum, today’s broadcast system is tomorrow’s superhighway,” said the NAB chief.

Banner b’cast year

Fritts noted that broadcast industry revenues have surged in the last year as the economy has rebounded. “We are on a roll towards a banner year,” he said.

The NAB topper reeled off a list of legislative accomplishments in the last year, all of which he said were made possible by a successful grassroots lobbying effort at the local level.

NAB will continue to fight the recording industry’s bid to persuade Congress to enact a performance rights royalty bill, Fritts said. “I must ask: How much more money does Barbra Streisand really need?” he joked.

NAB also expects the U.S. Small Business Administration to soon lift rules that bar SBA loans to broadcasters, said Fritts.

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