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2020 NAB Show: Postponed, Next Steps Uncertain

Smith said they are exploring alternatives in light of the COVID-19 pandemic

This article is updated periodically. We will add information as we learn more about the 2020 NAB Show and colocated events.

March 12: A spokesperson from the Society of Broadcast Engineers told Radio World that SBE is currently discussing ideas and options for the Ennes Workshop, The SBE @ PBS TechCon (TechCon Beyond), the board of directors meeting and the various committee meetings.” As of Thursday afternoon, SBE has cancelled its NAB Show-related events.

APRE has cancelled the 2020 PREC and will issue refunds, according to its website.

March 11: The 2020 NAB Show will not go forward as scheduled. In an emailed statement, NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith wrote:

As you know, we have been carefully monitoring coronavirus developments both domestically and globally over the past few weeks.

In the interest of addressing the health and safety concerns of our stakeholders and in consultation with partners throughout the media and entertainment industry, we have decided not to move forward with NAB Show in April. We are currently considering a number of potential alternatives to create the best possible experience for our community.

This was not an easy decision. Fortunately, we did not have to make this decision alone, and are grateful to our NAB Show community for engaging with us as we grappled with the rapidly-evolving situation. This Show is as much yours as it is ours, and it is important to us that we move forward together.

Read Smith’s full statement at

The show was scheduled for April 18–22 at at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The annual trade show is expected to draw some 90,000 attendees and more than 1,600 exhibitors to the Nevada desert to learn about broadcast and entertainment industry trends, experience new technology and research gear to purchase. 


The Broadcast Engineering & Information Technology Conference track begins Saturday, April 18 and runs through Wednesday, April 22. Sessions will be held in the North Hall Meeting Rooms of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

According to the NAB Show website, this year’s BEITC has a “decidedly forward-looking focus” due to technical presentations with an “emphasis on next-generation systems throughout the media-delivery ecosystem.”

BEITC education partners include IEEE Broadcast Technology Society, Society of Broadcast Engineers and the North American Broadcasters Association.

Find information about the agenda and speakers as the program is filled in on the BEITC page at the NAB Show website


FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is scheduled to speak with NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith during the NAB Show Welcome event on Monday, April 20. According to the announcement, they will discuss communications policy issues currently on the FCC’s docket, including spectrum policy and media ownership.


The Achievement in Broadcasting Dinner is scheduled for Monday, April 20, at the Encore in Las Vegas. The evening will feature Broadcasting Hall of Fame Award inductions (including DJ John Landecker‘s ) and presentation of the NAB Digital Leadership Award to Entercom Chief Digital Officer J.D. Crowley.

The event is by invitation only, according to the NAB Show website.


This annual awards show is scheduled for Tuesday, April 21, and will be held at the main stage and is open to all attendees.

This is event features the presentation of the Crystal Radio Awards and the NAB Crystal Heritage Award, as well as the Engineering Achievement Awards. This year’s Radio Engineering Achievement Award winner is Nautel’s Jeff Welton.


NAB Show says the 2020 show floor will feature more than 1,600 exhibitors and several pavilions of “exhibitor communities” and subject-specific theatres.


Every year, we highlight notable product introductions as we learn about them. Here are those we’ve covered so far:

Courtesy Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority

In early March, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, which runs the Las Vegas Convention Center (host site of the NAB Show), announced it is taking precautions to guard against transmission of the coronavirus. Officials at the LVCC are following CDC and Health District protocols and monitoring the situation. 

Several other spring broadcast shows have been postponed or cancelled, including Radiodays Europe and CABSAT.

The National Association of Broadcasters “affirmed” its plans in a mid-February press release amid growing concerns over the potential impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, also known as coronavirus. However, the March 11 announcement that NAB Show would not be held in April “was a tough call but it was the right call,” according to Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton.

NAB created a COVID-19 resource page for NAB Show attendees and exhibitors, featuring updates related to the trade show as well as information about steps NAB and the LVCC are taking to ensure the health of all involved. 

Because the coronavirus disease 2019 was first identified in Wuhan, China, and is widely believed to be the epicenter of the outbreak, NAB Show organizers also indicated that they will continue to “evaluate options for those unable to attend due to travel restrictions.” However, they emphasized that fewer than 2% of 2019’s total registered attendees came from China.


If all this prep has you feeling nostalgic, RW and TV Technology contributor James O’Neal wrote an article summarizing his decades of experience attending the big Spring Show. It features some interesting photographs and also highlights some of the major changes since the first NARTB conventions.