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The 2012 Radio Show in Dallas wrapped up a few weeks ago, and what do we do after a convention? We look back and reflect on how it went, what worked and what might need some improvement. The NAB and RAB have worked together on several Radio Shows now, and they have polished the process. Registered attendance was up from last year, which is always a good sign, but there’s more to a successful convention than attendance stats.

Chriss Scherer

I talked to exhibitors during the convention, and for the most part I heard positive comments. Most of them were pleased with the attendees they saw at the convention. The exhibitors want booth visitors, of course, but it’s not just about quantity. They like seeing existing customers of course, but they also want to see new customers and get new business leads. At the spring NAB Show, the large number of attendees helps to ensure there are some quality leads in the group. At the Radio Show, it’s a smaller pool, so the exhibitors are very focused on seeing a return for their effort. In most cases, it seems they were happy.

The convention offers several conference tracks. We follow the technical track mostly, although there are sessions in other tracks worth attending. FCC Commissioner Pai’s talk shed some light on his goals for broadcasting at the FCC. The EAS topic in the management track was a great idea to allow the managers to see EAS and CAP as more than just an engineering task. There were plenty of sessions to get new ideas. As an engineer and technology manager, I think it’s a good for those of us on the tech side to get a management, programming or sales session in our schedule. It helps the engineer become a more active part of the station team.

The HD Radio sessions were also well attended. The development of HD Radio continues, although many seem to think it has slowed. Seeing sessions with standing room only shows there is still an active interest in the technology.

The Radio Show (as the NAB Radio Show then) was last in Dallas in 2006, and also held at the Hilton Anatole. Next year, the convention returns to Orlando after many years away. I talked to exhibitors and attendees about the Dallas and Orlando locations, and heard a common theme in their comments. Both locations are great cities, and the convention facilities are wonderful, but there’s more to a convention than the convention itself.

Those to whom I spoke noted that cities like Philadelphia, San Francisco, Austin, Chicago, New Orleans and Washington, DC, all have an advantage over Dallas and Orlando: These other cities provide something to do outside the convention location and don’t require a car. Walk out of your hotel in San Francisco or Washington, DC, and you’re surrounded by restaurants in an easy walking area. And if you need to go farther, it’s easy to do so with public transportation. Dallas and Orlando are great cities, but not so pedestrian friendly. At the convention, I heard several mention that Boston would be a good stop for the Radio Show.

Planning a convention is no easy task. I credit the NAB and RAB for their efforts in putting together the convention as well as they do. And while the fall convention has had some rough spots, it still seems to offer some benefit to radio.




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