Barry McNamara  |   Published January 28, 2015

What’s on TV?

MC’s Goble gets behind-the-scenes access at national television conference
  • While at the NATPE conference, Chris Goble (right) posed with Norman Lear, who produced the iconic 1970s show “All in the Family” among other major network successes that decade.
Monmouth College communication studies instructor Chris Goble was part of a select group of international educators chosen to participate as a faculty fellow prior to the annual National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) Market & Conference in Miami earlier this month.
  
Goble, who serves as the adviser to the college’s MC-TV and WMCR radio, was one of 21 college and university officials allowed special access to a group of six industry leaders on the day before the conference. Ranging from the CEO of NATPE to an executive vice president of Lionsgate, the leaders shared their thoughts on the state of television and answered questions from the faculty fellows.
  
“My experience in the industry helped me receive the invitation,” said Goble, who has previously worked for WQAD-TV in the Quad Cities as a cameraman and has 11 years of experience in radio.
 
Goble said the conference had two components – a traditional element featuring speakers and panels discussing programming content, and a market, allowing content producers and buyers from TV stations to meet and do business.
 
Norman Lear, who produced the iconic 1970s show “All in the Family” among other major network successes that decade, was the keynote speaker.
 
“You would think he has a certain amount of clout and that any idea for a show he promotes would be accepted,” said Goble. “But that’s not the way it is. He told us, ‘I have to hustle.’ An idea he’s really excited about – a sitcom set in a retirement home – has not been picked up despite his repeated efforts.”
 
Goble also sat in on talks by Jay Leno and Morgan Spurlock, among others. He shared a point made by Spurlock, who said that content had been democratized through lower production costs and, through platforms such as YouTube, distribution has been democratized, as well.
 
“But there’s still a gatekeeping barrier, and that’s marketing,” said Goble. “It still costs millions of dollars to do that. If the ability to market a product is democratized, it would really change the way television works.”
 
Another major area of discussion is how modern society views television.
 
“Over-the-air TV is still the way the majority of us view it,” said Goble. “But more and more people are watching TV at different times through different platforms. It’s very much in flux and changing more rapidly than ever before.”
 
Some of the inside information shared with the faculty fellows was not for public consumption, but Goble will still have many insights to share with his students.
 
“We are able to get access to people at the NATPE conference that many schools wouldn’t have access to, and our students benefit from the real, on-the-ground information we bring back,” he said. 
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