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Comment On CEDIA By A Reader

Why not say have a media day on the Wednesday arvo, trade only for Thursday & Friday, then open to the public on Saturday and Sunday, perhaps a target of 50,000+ visitors is not unrealistic. I bet retail members would be a lot more comfortable with that type of approach and feel that it may give more relevance to CEDIA. CEDIA in my humble opinion should (not must) be “inclusive” rather than “exclusive”. The definition of which means, you exclude more than you include, not a great way of growing an industry.

Just look at what happened to the car audio industry from its hay day in the late 80’s and 90’s. There were sound off comps, retailers associations in every state(ACSIA, CAN and IASCA in the US) and  a national distributors associations (ACAD, car audio equivalent to CEDIA in some ways).

They all ran shows, and for the benefit of the end users, it grew the industry, and at one point, its growth here in Aust was the largest in the world (on % terms). End users knew who CAN and ACAD was. A lot of them attended state/local meetings and were actively involved. Unfortunately it died a slow death, well not completely, but it doesn’t have the same attraction it once had, and that’s because people got old and tired, failed to invigorate the industry with fresh young talent and thus didn’t pass the baton on to the next generation. It became an exclusive club. Critics became part of the problem when they were in a position to be part of the solution. Only a few smart retailers actively promote their industry to the public. In the specialist field, its no longer an industry, and more like a hobby type business. The mass approach is somewhat different.

I feel I must disagree with the way you go about trying to instigate change. “After the birth of the artist comes the inevitable afterbirth… the critic.” Quite a few people may have that view of you, whether they know you or not, some say, it shows in your writing style, being a critic of course, not the afterbirth, LOL. It bemuses me that you put a lot of effort, time, personal feeling and emotion into the open letter (and other articles you’ve written about CEDIA over the years), especially since as far as I know you have little or no vested interest in CEDIA. I thought a journalist needs to promote and present both sides of a debate without a partisan stance. In other words, show impartiality and let the readers deduce what they will.

I feel you could have more to offer, extend the olive branch, and become part of the solution. I feel it will also lift your profile within the industry as a whole, and thus improve your standing (and accessibility)with CEDIA. Keeps your friends close and your combatants closer.

Perhaps suggest to CEDIA, it should conduct a survey of members to find out what the membership base really thinks, feels and wants. Its likely you may have a database of CEDIA members, do the survey yourself, with CEDIA’s blessing would be better.  If the membership wants something that’s outside the CEDIA charter, then perhaps CEDIA in its present form is no longer relevant in todays marketplace and needs to change. After all, any organization cant exist without members, and members have or should have a vested interest in how the organization conducts itself. People are generally afraid of change, but that’s basic human nature, perhaps it’s the members fault (if there is a fault)for showing apathy and passiveness rather than being active for change.

The change of venue could be a good time for renewal, and I feel you could do things which is may be better than an open letter, a bit of investigative journalism would be powerful here, perhaps an interview or two with key members (and perhaps find a board member who may have hidden personal views). Present the data you gain to CEDIA first before it goes public. Suggest a meeting of interested parties, whatever it is, please be pro active rather than re-active. I get the feeling you would like to see an active and vibrant industry body, and so do I, I’m sure there are many others too. I feel you are in a unique position, and I trust you will use your position wisely.

Kevin Wicks
Queensland
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