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Within the industry, it's one of the largest annual meetings of broadcasters, equipment makers and industry bigwigs and this year was no different. There were some interesting things discussed at the handful of individual conferences I attended. My observations:
-At a forum moderated by MSNBC's Chris Matthews, the topic was Election 2008, further proof that next year's White House race is unlike any other in history. It's so early and it's already making national headlines on a daily basis.
-At that conference, perhaps the most interesting prediction was that one candidate, at least, will be completely destroyed by a few seconds of video where they were caught off guard. Think the "macaca" debacle in Virginia a year ago or imagine Hillary's national anthem but something a little more substantial than off-key singing and butchered lyrics. Cameras are everywhere and people are always rolling. Would the Michael Richards rant have been as big a story without that choppy cellphone video? Probably not.
-On that note, I hadn't even noticed that YouTube has become a major source of news content, perhaps rivaling the power of some of the networks, yet it operates so differently. It happened so quickly. A little more than a year ago, it wasn't even on the radar of mainstream media as a source for news. Upon reflection, I can think of several instances since I joined KSL that I ripped audio from a YouTube-posted video.
-Bloggers are starting to feel a shift of power in their direction. One conference briefly went over their effects in war reporting and Hurricane Katrina, the latter showed the negative sides of rushing to report what a blogger writes without checking it first.
-The most energetic and informative presentation was at the annual Crystal Awards luncheon, where our sister station KTAR-Phoenix, among others, was honored for community service. A columnist from CNET went over the next generation of cellphone internet wi-fi bluetooth II turbo powered gadgets that are already hitting the market. It is true that the barriers between TV, on demand video, radio and voice communication will only erode even more within the next few years.
-Single deck blackjack is always the goal but be aware of the new trick the big casinos are pulling. They'll have a number of "Single Deck Blackjack" tables but they changed the blackjack payouts to a more favorable (for them) 6:5. Stick to the multi-deck shufflers and the traditional 3:2, you're better off.
-The Mandalay Bay sports book is impressive, but they don't comp drinks after large bets. The Venetian does and if you win, put your winnings in to a lower level ticket to see the Blue Man Group. You'll thank me.