The 2009 NAB Show is Over

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Chriss Scherer

It's in the books now, the 2009 NAB Show is behind us. As an attendee, your preparation for the convention was probably limited to making some notes about sessions to attend and exhibitors to visit. That's important as an attendee. For the exhibitors and trade press, our planning started months ago. For Radio magazine, some of that started last November.

Now that it's over, we can look back and review and analyze it. The general verdict? The NAB touts it as a huge success. Most of the exhibitors I talked to agree. Despite the fact that attendance was down — there were almost 84,000 registered attendees compared to 105,000 last year — it seems like it was a good show. (Keep in mind that attendance figure is registered, not actual.)

With 21,000 fewer people there, the exhibit floor was obviously lighter on traffic this year. Before the show, people told me they were only going for two or three days, not four or five. That contributes to the look of the thinner crowd. Traffic on the floor was less dense. Keep in mind that a person in the door counts in overall attendance. A shorter stay at the show just means less crowd density on the floor, so the combination of a smaller crowd and a shorter stay makes the exhibit hall look sparse.

Some people remarked that the aisles were wider. Some main aisles were very wide, I agree. Most aisles looked to be about the typical 10' to me, but I didn't measure them.

For years exhibitors have been talking about the quality of the attendees being good even though quantity had slipped. This year was the ultimate example of that. Those attending were very serious equipment and service buyers. There were few if any tire kickers.

As one exhibitor told me, “I don't care if attendance is 100,000 or 10,000. As long as I get 150 good leads from the show, I'm happy.”

I think he got his wish, and he had more time to see those 150 people thanks to the 20 percent drop in attendance.

The lighter crowd also made it easier for me to work through the floor. While I made other adjustments to my schedule to increase the efficiency of my time on the exhibit floor this year, fewer attendees made it easier for me to see the people I needed to see. Exhibitors weren't as busy. Fewer people were stopping me en route. Fewer people were clustered into traffic jams. I even had some extra time to explore for new ideas and products that I might have otherwise missed.

As far as new products go, there were some interesting technology applications to be found. As in previous years, I would classify most of the new products as enhancements and refinements to existing products, but there were some unique ideas to be found. I posted some of my own picks online in Talkback.

If you weren't at the show, you missed the in-person experience. But don't worry, we'll help you catch up on what you missed. We'll have lots of convention details in next month's issue. But in the meantime, there's lots of NAB info at The Radio magazine Pick Hits — now in their 25th year — are posted online. We'll have the complete details on all 15 posted soon. Also, take a look at our Photo Blog, the NAB Insider newsletters, and Talkback posts from during and after the show.

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