The NAB Show is full of exhibits, conferences, keynotes, meetings and all manner of networking. It’s wonderfully overwhelming and exhausting no matter what your reason for being there. But for technically minded folk, the synergistic event where you can connect and network, appreciate the accomplishments of your peers and mentors, learn interesting stuff, and eat a balanced meal all in one big multi-tasking room is the NAB Technology Luncheon, being held on Wednesday April 20 at the Westgate Paradise Ballroom at 12:30 pm sharp local time.

Don’t get confused—this event is in the Westgate Hotel, formerly the LV Hotel, formerly the LV Hilton Hotel, next to the Convention Center. If you were coming from the ATSC 3.0 Consumer Experience at the west end of the Upper South Hall, it’s a half-mile walk. And if you were at the ATSC 3.0 Broadcast Pavilion in the Futures Park area at the other end of the South Hall, it would be an additional quarter mile. At 3 miles an hour (good luck with that during the Show) that’s a 15 minute walk, if you don’t stop—remember that and be on time!

There are many good reasons to attend this lunch, regardless of where you’re coming from. Below are arguably the Top Ten:

  1. Ted-Schilowitz-Portrait.pngTed Schilowitz  Just recently announced as the keynote speaker for the lunch, Ted Schilowitz is the Futurist at 20th Century Fox and Chief Creative officer at Barco. At Fox, he advises and creates strategy on the future technology and vision for cinema, exploring the emerging entertainment fields of Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Immersive Cinema. At Barco, he leads a project focused on the future of the immersive, high intensity cinema experience. His qualifications for these roles are impressive. Ted was founding member, first employee, and part of the product development team at RED Digital Cinema. He also was one of the founders and creators of the G-Tech product line of advanced hard drive storage products for the media industry. He’s much in demand as a presenter on the future of technology and strategy for the media and entertainment industry, with high profile lectures all over the globe and has been featured in many major trade publications and mainstream press discussing technology advancements in media. If you’re going to be in Las Vegas, this is a must-attend keynote for insight on where the future of media is headed.
  1. chernock.jpgRichard Chernock is this year’s winner of the NAB Engineering Achievement Award for Television. He is probably the closest you can get to being “the godfather of ATSC 3.0.” In his day job as Chief Science Officer at Triveni Digital, he’s made many contributions to his company and to the industry. But in his unpaid industry role of leading television standards groups and evangelizing new broadcast services, he has excelled, propelled and basically “scienced the <crap> out of” the development of ATSC 3.0, whose functional presence will be evident at numerous locations throughout the Show. Rich is the chairman of the ATSC Technology Group 3, which is developing/has developed the multi-element suite of over twenty standards collectively known at ATSC 3.0, forming the basis for the next generation of broadcast television service. Clap loudly for this award winner and listen closely to what he says about what the future will bring.
  1. laird.jpgAndrew Laird is this year’s winner of the NAB Engineering Achievement Award for Radio. He started working at his first radio station in 1967 and for the next 47 years worked as a studio design consultant, chief engineer and engineering manager for a variety of radio groups. Andy retired from Journal Broadcasting (later acquired by E.W. Scripps) in 2014. Perhaps the epitome of the proverbial unsung hero, Andy lived the maxim that really good engineering doesn’t attract attention. In addition to being a great radio engineer, however, he also played a crucial role in the evaluation and standardization of the system for digital AM and FM radio broadcasting in the U.S. through his work with the NAB and CTA co-sponsored National Radio Systems Committee (NRSC). He chaired the NRSC’s DAB Test Guidelines Working Group in the late 90’s, the Test Procedures Working Group in the early 2000’s that proved out the HD Radio digital radio system and then served as co-chair (and subsequently chair) of the Digital Radio Broadcasting Subcommittee from 2007 to 2014, maintaining and improving existing NRSC standards and creating new guidelines for radio broadcasters. At the Technology Lunch, for once in his quiet career of superlative excellence, Andy will get the recognition he so richly deserves.
  1. symson.jpgAdam Symson will receiving this year’s NAB Digital Leadership Award at the Technology Lunch. This award made its debut last year to honor an individual at a broadcast station, group or network who has had a significant role in transforming a traditional broadcast business to succeed on digital media platforms. Adam’s accomplishments fit this award description perfectly. As senior vice president and chief digital officer at The E.W. Scripps Company, he oversees the strategy and execution for Scripps’ portfolio of web, mobile and over-the-top businesses. Scripps is a leader in this space and has sustained consistent growth of its digital properties and continues to pursue innovation in its businesses much through Adam’s efforts. As a result, Scripps has evolved and transformed to meet the needs of the next generation of media consumers.
  1. The Technology Innovation Award NAB presents the Technology Innovation Awardto organizations that bring advanced technology exhibits and demonstrations of significant merit to the NAB Show, with the caveat that the technologies shown have not yet been commercialized. Last year, the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute in Korea won the award for their demonstration of Layered Division Multiplexing (LDM). Who will it be this year? Come to the lunch, find out and then go see it at their booth.
  1. The Best Paper Award The NAB Best Paper Award honors the author(s) of a paper of exceptional merit published in the NAB Broadcast Engineering Conference Proceedings. The winning author is announced and receives their award at the Technology Lunch. This year the Proceedings is available on a USB drive. It includes 73 papers, all associated with specific presentations at the conference. The papers are uniformly excellent, making up a whopping 549 pages. If it was printed it would be several inches thick and probably put your baggage over the 50 pound limit, so be glad the publication is all-electronic these days. If you didn’t buy a copy with your show registration, pick one up at the NAB Store in the LVCC lobby.
  1. Prizes This year, we’re giving away a UHD television, courtesy of LG Electronics and three drones, courtesy of B&H Photo, Video and Pro Audio. You’ll have to be there (and stay to the end) to have a chance—odds are somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 in 125 to win, based on previous numbers of attendees.
  1. Nutrition Everyone’s got to eat, even at the NAB Show. You don’t want to end up in First Aid because you got forgot about lunch and got light headed. We’re serving chicken and believe it or not, it’s actually pretty good.
  1. To do otherwise would be unthinkable For technologists, the Technology Lunch is the place to see and be seen. Network with the great, the near-great and your friends. Count how many former engineering achievement award winners you can find. Read your email discreetly. And don’t forget to hydrate.
  1. It’s free! Well, sort of. If you’re registered for one of the conferences, you also got a choice of a luncheon ticket in your package and likely you wisely chose the Technology Lunch. If not, tickets are $75 in advance and you can get them onsite as well in Las Vegas. Y’all come!