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NAB Show Radio Exhibitors to Move

Trade group plans to cluster radio, pro audio booths near outside C2 entrance next year

Some radio vendors at last week’s NAB Show were not happy to learn that their booth location will be changed next year.

Radio and pro audio exhibitors in the Central Hall are being clustered, with those now closest to the grand lobby entrance being moved father back. The so-called “grand” lobby is between the North and Central Halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Radio and pro audio exhibitors will be placed by the outside C2 entrance. Some radio and pro audio exhibitors were in that location this year.

The C2 entrance is across from the monorail exit, connected to the South Hall meeting room complex and adjacent to the shuttle bus loading area.

The change comes as the NAB Show has grown considerably over the last few years; last week the trade group said exhibit space was up about 7% from the previous year, with 1,746 companies.

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

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

The move affects the entire radio and pro audio categories and vendors could be affected by varying degrees, depending on how far their booth is moved. There were some 100 exhibitors in the radio and 185 in the pro audio categories this year, according to the NAB Show website.

Several radio vendors spoke to RW off the record about the issue. To some, the impending move was a surprise until last week, when they selected their exhibit space for next year. Others said they found out a couple of weeks before the show.

Most weren’t happy, but some seemed resigned to the change. One vendor said of his company’s new space: “It’s a less attractive location,” while another told RW: “It seems like radio is being pushed to the back of the bus,” by 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 vendor. 

Still a fourth vendor said grouping the radio exhibitors is a good idea, but he didn’t like how it came about. A fifth vendor said of the change, “It will be fine,” but like the vendor above, didn’t like learning about the change so close to the actual show.

The NAB spokeswoman stressed that radio will remain an important part of the spring show and that the organization is planning 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,” said the spokeswoman.

In contrast, a sixth vendor, GatesAir, wants to move — from the North Hall to the Central Hall as part of the Acquisition and Production category. “We are moving by choice,” said a spokesman for the company. GatesAir is relocating to a space near the front of the Central Hall by the grand lobby.