The NAB Show and the fall Radio Show in October will both have a different look and feel this year.
This was expected, given the unusual circumstances of the pandemic; but now details about how the shows will work — particularly the aspects of interest to radio people — are becoming clearer. We also know more about the health and hygiene steps that will be taken at the conventions.
As we’ve reported, the “big” NAB Show was postponed to the fall, and the two-day Radio Show, co-produced by the NAB and the RAB, was reset for the same week, also in Las Vegas. (The 2020 Radio Show was supposed to be in Nashville but was cancelled; this year’s fall show originally was supposed to be in New Orleans.)
Thus the NAB Show will be held Oct. 9 to 13, while the Radio Show will be Oct. 13 and 14, with a day of overlap on the Wednesday.
Now the NAB and RAB have told the show community that Radio Show conferences and exhibits will be held at the Westgate Las Vegas, next door to the Las Vegas Convention Center, and the official show hotel for the Radio Show will be the Sahara Las Vegas.
Note how Radio Show booths will work. Exhibitors have the option to purchase a tabletop exhibit for the two days of the Radio Show; these will be in the general session ballroom of the Westgate, and exhibitors have been told to expect a space selection process in coming weeks.
That means attendees who want to visit radio industry suppliers should look for them on the main NAB Show floor of the LVCC on Sunday through Wednesday, while some radio suppliers also (or conceivably only) will have tabletops at the Radio Show in the Westgate on Wednesday and Thursday.
The published conference agenda for the Radio Show includes time slots dedicated to exhibits on both days. Registrants to co-located events including the Radio Show get access to the NAB Show floor and to any all-access NAB Show Main Stage sessions and special events.
As for health considerations for the NAB Show, organizers note that Las Vegas returned to pre-pandemic guidelines on June 1.
“We are working with a top medical firm to guarantee we are following all health and safety protocols as outlined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control,” the NAB Show website states. “As information around the virus continues to develop, we will adjust our approach as needed.”
Masks are not required for attendees who are fully vaccinated. “Visitors may be required to undergo health screenings such as temperature checks or other screening processes upon entry.”
Registration will be “touchless,” and organizers encourage people to register at a hotel satellite location before going to the LVCC.
The organizers ask that people refrain from greeting one another using any physical contact. Meeting rooms and floor theaters will be set up with three feet of social distancing.
NAB wrote that the LVCC “has invested in HVAC upgrades to allow for greater ventilation as well as using air filters with a quality rating of MERV 14 (hospital grade filtration system). The frequency of the filter changes and the outdoor air exchange rate have both been increased.”
The LVCC management is also planning deep advance cleaning, enhanced sanitation at high-touch areas, UV lights and sanitizing AV equipment, among other precautions; and hand sanitation facilities will be available.
You can read more about the show safety precautions here.
Of course, a question everyone will be asking is just how many people will show up.
No one we’ve talked to expects the 91,000+ that NAB reported as attending the spring show in 2019. (The fall Radio Show usually draws a little over 2,000.) It remains to be seen how many folks will decide to travel to an in-person convention in the fall of 2021, especially given that the spring show usually draws a quarter of its people from abroad.
Regardless, being able to hold a sizeable in-person event at all will be a notable milestone as our industry works its way back.
A final note of interest is that most broadcast visitors who do attend will get their first look at the LVCC’s massive West Hall expansion, though this year’s NAB Show won’t use that space. The Las Vegas Review Journal has a video and pix.