Radio Exhibitor Space to Change at Spring Show
     

 
The location and orientation of radio/audio exhibits next year is indicated by the dotted red line, at bottom left and the lower portion of the map.
(Click to Enlarge)
Some radio vendors at the NAB Show are not happy that booth locations will be changed next year.

More radio and pro audio exhibitors in the Central Hall are being clustered, and those that had been closest to the so-called grand lobby entrance — between the North and Central Halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center — will move farther from that Central Hall door. The new radio/audio layout will overlap the footprint of the old one, but the traffic flow and orientation of the “front of the radio hall” are likely to change.

The C2 entrance is across from the monorail exit, connected to the South Hall meeting room complex and adjacent to a shuttle bus drop-off.

The change comes as the NAB Show has grown considerably over the last few years. The trade group said exhibit space was up about 7 percent from the previous year, with 945,000 net square feet of exhibit space, and that there were 1,746 companies exhibiting.

“We are looking for ways to accommodate that growth and to organize the show floor in logical ways by product categories,” a spokeswoman told RW. She said the increase required the organization to reassess the overall organization of the floor in several areas.

NAB is moving radio and pro audio to accommodate growing exhibit needs of its Acquisition and Production category, which consists mostly of video-related companies. That space in particular has sold out the last couple of years, according to the trade lobby.

Radio exhibits last moved in 2010, from the North to the Central Hall.

“LESS ATTRACTIVE”
The shift affects the entire radio and pro audio categories, and vendors could be affected by varying degrees, depending on how far their booth is moved.

Radio is one of eight product categories at the show. There were some 100 exhibitors in the radio and 185 in the pro audio categories this year, according to the NAB Show website. Companies self-define their categories, and some fall into both. A list of companies categorized as radio this year can be found at http://tinyurl.com/lw4u6s9.

For NAB Show exhibit purposes, “radio” consists of analog, digital and streaming technologies, HD Radio, antennas, transmitters, towers, automation, master control, news and weather services, advertising/media sales solutions, encoding, microwave/RF accessories, scheduling software, signal management, IT/network infrastructure and security, Web, mobile and video applications.

Several radio vendors spoke to RW off the record about the issue. For some the move was a surprise; they learned about it when they selected exhibit space for next year. Others said they’d found out a couple of weeks before the show.

Most weren’t happy, questioning how customers would find them. Some seemed resigned to the change.

“It’s a less attractive location,” said a vendor about his company’s new space.

Another told RW: “It seems like radio is being pushed to the back of the bus,” near the “doors that go out to the food truck.”

“This is our big show of the year, and to be pushed back is disappointing,” said a third.

 
Radio and pro audio booths will be clustered near the outside C2 entrance next year. Photo by Jim Peck
Another said that grouping all of the radio exhibitors is a good idea but he didn’t like how the changes came about. His company chose a larger booth next year to be able to remain relatively near its current space, but he said spending on other show events may need to be constrained as a result.

A fifth vendor said the new layout “will be fine” but didn’t like learning about it so close to the show when many other exhibit-related items demanded attention.

“AT THE CROSSROADS”
Radio will remain an important part of the spring show, the NAB spokeswoman stressed. The organization plans to create special signage around the Central Hall 2 entrance, branding it as a radio and pro audio entrance. “The area is at the crossroads for traffic moving between South and Central Halls — the bridge crossover drops people right at the entrance to C2,” she said.

At least one vendor, GatesAir — part of what used to be called Harris Broadcast — plans to relocate from the North to Central Hall, in the acquisition and production category. “We are moving by choice,” a spokesman told RW. The company, which makes both radio and TV equipment, is moving into a space near the front of the Central Hall by the grand lobby.

NAB has an Exhibitor Advisory Committee that companies can contact to voice concerns. While declining comment on the changes, Diana Stokey, chair of the EAC, said, “I encourage any exhibitor who has feedback on the change to the 2015 floor plan contact your Exhibitor Advisory Committee Representative. The EAC is your direct voice to NAB’s show management team. NAB strongly encourages this dialogue.”


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