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No Broadcast Booth On CES Show Floor: First Time in 23 Years

It’s not all about you Gary Shapiro, it’s about your Exhibitors!

Don’t worry, we’ll still be there — but just doing as many Reporter-style interviews as time permits, while running around the show floors.

 

CES No boothUPDATE – – From the CES 2018 show floor….. Here is where we HAD our Broadcast Booth for the last several years. Damn shame that they couldn’t even sell the space… it’s just a big empty void that could have been us doing far more interviews to promote the CES Exhibitors. Oh well. Oh and surprise…. Gary “unfriended” and blocked me on Facebook. Sheesh!


“Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline” is the only national broadcast (as well as Daily Features and many ITTV Video Reports) covering consumer Tech exclusively for 23 years.  The show airs on nearly 200 AM & FM radio stations around the U.S., stations in Canada and several other sources including TuneIn, Mobile Broadcast Network, iTunes, iHeartRadio, Sprint Radio, TiVo, Stitcher, Podzilla and many others — every week. “Into Tomorrow” is also heard around the world on the 5 American Armed Forces Networks in several other countries. In addition, we stream all our audio and video via our web site and provide free Podcasts of our show archives. If you have an iPhone/iPod/iPad or any Android device, you can also listen to our stream via our FREE app, downloadable from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store for all Android devices, the Amazon Kindle Fire and the Google Chrome Web Store.

WiFi Alliance InterviewAs professional, independent Journalists serving our audience – we have always launched our new season every year, from a Broadcast Position at CES – a trade show in Las Vegas that most people have always known as the “Consumer Electronics Show” – (in spite of their many name changes in recent years).  We’ve now joined the many other actual broadcast Tech Journalists — including several other Broadcasters that have abandoned actually broadcasting from the CES convention center floor over the past years.  Many have shared with us that “CES has become a big waste of time & money”.  Especially when you can get all of the company’s announcements via Press Releases and easily schedule and conduct interviews anywhere, anytime. It’s a shame that CES doesn’t take place BEFORE Christmas, so that some consumers might even get some good ideas for new Tech Gifts for the holidays — assuming the products are even available.  It’s also THE absolute worst – and most expensive, especially in terms of flights and hotels — time to go to Lost Wages, Nevada.

What happens in Vegas … stays in Vegas?

A great deal of the products shown each year — unfortunately many THOUSANDS — never even make it to market. Many just seem to disappear into some gadget void black hole after teasing everyone at the show.  We have always tried hard to cover new products that WE have faith in that will hopefully, eventually be available to our audience, even though many won’t even surface until much later in the year, if at all. You know the saying: “What happens in Vegas … stays in Vegas“?  Sadly, that’s often very true with CES announcements in spite of the many frantic “PR” people that justifiably plead for client coverage. I can’t begin to tell you how many fellow Tech Journalists have shared their CES horror stories with us — including so many of them that just won’t attend any longer.

CES: A Non-Event?

CES

While CES is still the most important Consumer Tech show in North America and still heavily-attended, many have said that CES has now become a “non-event” … no new product categories in years … no big announcements in many years. Major companies like Microsoft, DISH and several others have pulled out of CES.  Companies like Apple won’t even attend.  Most companies used to save their big announcements & product launches for CES, now they often just do their own thing – usually offsite during the same week, yet having nothing to do with CES.   Apple, Samsung, Google and just about every other big company create their own major events when they feel like it (and have no competition for attention), and they are doing better than ever.  For many years, people used to say “See you at CES!” The last few years, many in the industry simply ask: “Will you be at CES?” In fact, several companies that we always used to interview at CES are now telling us to come by their hotel suites as they will be in town … just not exhibiting at CES.  Frankly, CTA/CES needs us — and other real Tech Journalists — a whole lot more than we need them. CTA leadership should keep that in mind.

The ‘Vegas’ Show

In recent years, more and more national broadcast and other media don’t even reference “CES” as part of their coverage any longer. Most now simply say things like “…introduced at a trade show in Vegas…”. Again … it’s about the innovative products!  Unfortunately, every year, there is a ton of all the same products with very little – if any — differences. Real Tech Journalists, like us, work very hard to find the occasional ‘gem’ that is worthy of international coverage on our broadcasts. Unfortunately, CES has become sooooo predictable with very short attention spans. Gee … new, bigger TVs … more Smartphones and Fitness Wearables … more Bluetooth earbuds … more Smarthome gadgets … more Bluetooth Speakers …  more VR Headsets … Oooo,  more phone cases!?!  It often reminds us legitimate Journalists of other tech events that ultimately imploded. CES used to be … revolutionary. In the last several years, it’s just been more like simply … evolutionary.

Also Lobbyist Gary Shapiro, the president/CEO of CTA – the Consumer Technology Association that used to be called the Consumer Electronics Association, before they changed their name again — has gotten cheap, in spite of the gobs of money they make on the annual CES.  He decided not to provide our Broadcast Booth — as they had done for 22 previous years — where Exhibitors stand in line to be interviewed and we’re happy to bring their new innovations to our targeted audience! The only thing they have not gotten cheap with is their member’s money they spend on lobbying and Political Action Committees in Washington.   Having CES in January is probably much more about the availability of the Las Vegas Convention Center space and the fact that it’s a slow news time of year, so by default, CES gets more coverage than they would otherwise.

Other organizations are even taking over shows that CTA was once running and heavily involved in! Hmmm. Stay tuned!

Threatened By Another Trade Show?

For years, Gary has frequently complained to me, trying to claim that I am an “employee” of Messe-Berlin, producers of IFA in Berlin, Germany — the oldest Consumer Tech show in the world (since 1924, rich in Tech History. Albert Einstein was even one of their first Keynote Speakers). While I have received small talent fees to be their Master of Ceremonies over the years and Moderate their Global press events, it’s a Freelance gig. It’s what I do – for many organizations throughout my broadcasting career.  It’s the exact same thing as Gary taking a fee for a speaking engagement, (though I’m now told that he passes those fees to “the foundation”).  That doesn’t make him an “employee” of that organization the same way that *I* am not a Messe-Berlin employee but that hasn’t stopped him from whining about me “working for them” and obviously being … threatened. Sheesh. In all our years, we have broadcast from MANY consumer tech trade shows around the world! Very popular shows like Mobile World Congress in Barcelona … CEATEC Japan … IFA in Berlin … Game Developers Conference … CeBIT Hannover … photokina in Cologne … CE China in Shenzhen … Electronic House eXpo … CTIA Wireless … Computex Taipei in Taiwan … CES Asia in Shanghai, China … Siggraph … and many others!  (BTW, There is never a charge to be a guest on our show!)

IT ON THE AIRFor the life of me, we don’t understand why Gary Shapiro doesn’t support or understand the independence of consumer tech around the world.  The temporary Broadcast Studio set-up — which CTA had always provided previously, this year Gary wanted to charge us $17,600 just for the space this year?!? — Having that Broadcast Booth is not only for us to be found more easily by the many Exhibitors coming for their interviews, it’s also about the much better audio quality of the interviews — so the many Exhibitors are heard as best as possible. While we have no problem with the ambient sound of the trade show, the use of a plexiglass Broadcast Booth, with our Sportscaster-type headsets and enclosed area — where by the way, we’ve also previously shot VIDEO with 3-cameras so our audience can SEE their products that we talk about on the radio! It’s also much more about the comfort for our guests — their Exhibitors — a chance to get off their feet for a few minutes while showing-off their products, a better feeling for the interviewed people, less noises around and the speed … it’s also an opportunity for our Team to get these interviews produced, edited, uploaded and delivered QUICKLY to our listeners and viewers around the world. That’s why broadcasters are often supported by trade shows – in the end, it’s for THEM to get great on-air promotion and even more importantly …. to help their exhibitors get some positive national exposure and promotion. But try convincing CTA’s Gary Shapiro of all that. Those that know him can confirm his “stubbornness” and complaining. Heck, it took many of us several years to finally get Gary to properly pronounce “entrepreneur”. LOL. But I digress. Interesting that even GenderAvenger is going after them!?

Gear Stolen At CES

BurglarThe ONLY Trade Show in 23 years of our international broadcasts where we ever had anything STOLEN was at a CES. They (CTA) decided to provide 24/7 Security at the Broadcast Booth, but Shapiro constantly complained about the expense every year – like it was OUR fault that our equipment was stolen – under their watch – during THEIR trade show!?!?  Again, the ONLY show in the world where we ever had that issue! And we’re very well known for traveling the world to bring our audience the latest in Consumer Tech.

It’s Not All About You Gary

He also constantly complained about their “expense” for providing our Broadcast Booth space every year. It’s floor space that they already ‘own’ for the duration of CES and that no one would rent because it was in an alcove that no Exhibitor wanted to be unseen in. Putting up some plexiglass panels, signs and power didn’t cost that much. We never complained about the location, as long as all our guests — their Exhibitors — could find us for their interviews.  In past years, we always did 3 weeks worth of interviews with many Exhibitors, as time and topic variety permitted, covering lots of the latest of their newest innovations. They all always loved being on the show — on RADIO and TV. And we always LOVED having them!

Gary Shapiro
Gary Shapiro

Even though he had been on the show – more than any other single guest in 22+ years — Shapiro has also been upset the last couple of years that I haven’t interviewed him at every single possible opportunity. While he  wanted to promote “his” books and even telling me frequently that his wife was also upset with me for not interviewing him more … I always tried to explain that it’s not about him!  It’s about the MEMBERS and Exhibitors and the consumer tech gadgets and services at their various events, including CES. Not just about feeding his ego.  We have been close friends with each of the past CTA Chairmen and many board members who we respect and still enjoy having on our broadcasts — and will continue to invite. This commentary is not directed at them or the hard-working staff at CTA or even most of the overall efforts of the association, which we support on behalf of consumers!

Keep Your Word? Nah

The biggest issue the last couple of years that WE had with Shapiro was his verbal commitment to help “sponsor” our weekly Armed Forces version of the broadcasts, showing support for our Troops around the world on the American Armed Forces Networks American Forces Networkthat our show also airs on.  Since our recording devices were running — because we were about to start yet another interview with him — Shapiro sat across from me and COMMITTED to very affordably supporting our Troops feed as a “…great idea and good effort to promote [CTA’s] various initiatives...”  Then when presented with an Invoice, he insisted that I show him a “signed contract” and said that he would never agree to anything verbally!  Really? Even when it was recorded? Interesting. The really sad part is that a great many of those broadcasts had already aired — over several months — promoting CTA and their various programs. Can’t take back anything that already aired!  We trusted Shapiro and we acted in good faith. He didn’t. Through the valiant efforts of others on his staff, a small portion of that expense was paid, but he continues to complain about that — bringing it up often — and stating “if it was up to me, you would get nothing!  Gee, thanks Gary. Nice attitude to help YOUR membership and association — let alone support for our military!

Jeff Joseph
Jeff Joseph

It’s no wonder that several employees — including senior execs at CTA — have been dropping like flies.  The most unsettling departure – happening right after CES this year — is the Senior VP of Communications and Strategic Relationships, Jeff Joseph. Jeff is a pro all around and has been an absolute delight to work with over the years. He will be sorely missed by CTA and certainly by us media-types that cover their membership! We would have given-up on Gary Shapiro long ago if it wasn’t for the support of Jeff — and his Team. Thank you!

It’s often impossible to try to convince people like Gary Shapiro that we are a business, not a non-profit, tax dollar-supported broadcaster like NPR. As a result, we depend on advertisers and other funding in order to travel to various consumer tech shows around the world and properly promote companies with the latest innovations in Consumer Tech. We assumed that CTA always appreciated our efforts over the many years to promote their members … their programs … and most importantly, their Exhibitors especially at CES.  I guess we were mistaken. It’s a damn shame.

To The 2018 CES Exhibitors

As I said, we still plan to attend in January (unless Gary now tries to revoke our Press Credentials) and have paid for our flights, hotel and booked our staff and we have already scheduled several interviews with a great many CES Exhibitors as it is our goal — in serving our Consumer Tech audience — to cover the latest, whether at CES or any other trade show around the world. However, instead of inviting Exhibitors to visit our Broadcast Booth where we — as always previously — had that 3-camera video shoot of all the radio interviews, actually SHOWING all their cool products … we will now just be running around the show floor, doing as many Radio Reporter-style interviews (and some video) as time allows. As a result, it will no longer be 3 weeks worth from the CES show floor.
CES Unveiled InterviewNot to worry though, one way or another, our long-time, large and valued audience will know about all the cool new stuff that does become available! But we have to wonder if covering CES for 23 years might be enough. We’ll stay on the air with or without Gary Shapiro and CES.

You can be a guest on “Into Tomorrow” anytime!

As always, those companies providing cool, consumer tech products and services are not necessarily just Exhibitors at CES, but can be on the show anytime during the year! As most always do anyway, just let us know whenever you introduce cool, new, innovative consumer tech and we’ll be delighted to cover it, today and … “Into Tomorrow”!  Communicate with my Senior Producer (and daughter) Beth here and we’ll be happy to consider you for an upcoming broadcast.

Live & Burn, uh, I mean … Learn

A good friend of mine taught me something years ago, the former Publisher of a giant major metropolitan newspaper (back in the day when ‘print’ mattered). He always told his adversaries: “Never argue with a man who buys ink by the barrel!” I like to think my current, modern day version would be something like:  “Never argue with a guy that has a huge audience on hundreds of radio stations, streams, podcasts, social media and a gazillion other sources!”  Works for me as I tend to share my thoughts with my audience. I make no apologies for our show being successful for 23 years on the air and … “Into Tomorrow”.

So if you’re going to Vegas in January … good luck at the show. We hope that it’s very successful for you!

 

What are YOUR thoughts? I’ve love to hear from you about CES.  Also, what else would YOU like for us to cover … “Into Tomorrow”. Let me know here

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Written by Dave Graveline

Dave Graveline

Dave Graveline is the founder, Host & Executive Producer of "Into Tomorrow" in addition to being President of the Advanced Media Network".

Dave is also a trusted and familiar voice on many national commercials & narrations in addition to being an authority in consumer tech since 1994. He is also a former Police Officer and an FBI Certified Instructor.

Dave thrives on audience participation!

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