WAB AwardsThe Conference kicks off with the annual WAB Golf Classic June 8 at the Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course. This year’s Classic promises to be a great day, rain or shine. The Conference program commences June 9 with an exciting line-up of speakers. Presenting the keynote address is Terry O’Reilly of CBC Radio’s Under the Influence. Some of the most valuable products in the world hit roadblocks; some of the most powerful mediums appear to lose their luster. Often, those problems are perceptions, not reality.

There is a way to turn around an incorrect perception, you just have to change the conversation. O’Reilly will talk about turning outdated perceptions around with marketing, and why television—and radio in particular—are still two of the most powerful and creative mediums available.

Radio futurologist James Cridland will focus on the most multi-platform radio environment in the world. He’ll show which changes are occurring in the UK and what broadcasters need to do to prepare. Hear about a country that’s turning off FM entirely next year and going all-digital; where a supermarket ’s instore radio station is #2 in the ratings; the most popular way to listen to radio in the UK at 11.00 p.m. (and it’s not a radio); where one TV channel is no longer on the TV; where a radio station has launched over a hundred additional stations online; and where another radio station has doubled its brand’s audience figures by using digital broadcasting.

Ken Goldstein of Communications Management, Inc. asks what if we knew then what we know now about the technology and economics of broadcasting, would we have created the same system we have today—or would it look very different? In the first half of the 20th Century, Canada set into motion numerous policies and institutions that still shape our broadcasting system. Many of those were based on a mixture of incomplete assumptions related to spectrum capacity and on technologies that have been superseded by new and unforeseen realities. Today, in an era of unprecedented evolution affecting communications technology, we are once again faced with any number of difficult choices. The assumptions we make now will create our future broadcasting industry.

Steve Jones presents a new session called Rock Star Remedies for Tough Times, a journey examining how rock legends such as David Bowie, Madonna, Justin Bieber, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, Aerosmith handled economic downturns, scandals, failed careers, changing fads and technological upheaval. With more choice and fragmentation than ever, our traditional ways of thinking are being challenged, new platforms and technologies are emerging and merging, and buckets of data are being produced. How will broadcasting companies fit in to this new data-focused, multi-platform landscape?

NLogic President/COO David Phillips will discuss major shifts in the industry and what broadcasters can do to flourish.

Over the last five years, the CRTC Meet & Greet has become a WAB favourite. This special event is an invaluable opportunity for our small market radio and television stations to meet face-to-face with key CRTC Commissioners and staff in a relaxed and informal setting. The CRTC Report will be given this year by Steve Simpson, appointed to the CRTC as Commissioner for British Columbia and the Yukon in 2008.

The President’s Dinner & Gold Medal Awards Gala is the highlight of the Conference. This Gala celebrates Lifetime Achievements in Broadcasting and recognizes, with the Broadcast Order of Achievement, long-serving broadcasters for their 25 and 50 years of service to the industry. Radio and Television broadcasters are honoured with WAB Gold Medal Awards for their significant community service.

The Leader of Tomorrow Award goes to individuals under the age of 30 who have made a mark early in their careers. The best and brightest in Western broadcasting will be in the room.

The MCs for the WAB President’s Dinner & Gold Medal Awards Gala are Crash & Mars, the morning hosts at 102.3 NOW! Edmonton. Experience their rendition of The Crash & Mars Show, WAB style.

See more background on the conference presenters: wab.ca/conference-speakers-lineup/

With the support of FACTOR and its partnership with Canada’s private radio broadcasters and the Government of Canada, the feature entertainment are the acoustical sounds of Big Sugar. With a platinum recording career that spans over 20 years, Big Sugar is known for powerful, high volume live performances. Blues, Reggae and Jazz have always walked hand in hand with the rocking Big Sugar sound and this acoustical format features just that. The blues harmonica, the cowboy yodel mixed with Jamaican folk rhythms and the bass lines will deliver an unforgettable concert experience.

The WAB Conference takes place June 8-9 immediately prior to the Banff World Media Festival. Registration is now open online at www.wab.ca/registration.