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Decision to Abort Makes for “Poignant Moment” at NAB

Next steps being discussed

“There’s sadness in this building today.”

NAB Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton told Radio World that the decision not to hold the NAB Show next month made for a “poignant moment” Wednesday. “It was a tough call but it was the right call.”

Whether the convention will be rescheduled or replaced with something else later this year is uncertain. NAB did not use the words cancel or postponement in its announcement, and Wharton confirmed that the association has been discussing various options.

But the sheer immensity of the annual spring event and the complexity of planning needed from exhibitors, speakers and attendees would certainly seem to limit the choices.

Some observers have speculated that NAB could hold an event in Las Vegas in the summer, or somehow modify its fall NAB Show New York. Wharton declined to comment and said it’s too early to discuss possible outcomes.

“The last few days [we] have been focused on rolling out this announcement responsibly and professionally, and assuaging some concerns of our members and exhibitor base,” he said.

He declined to estimate the potential cost to NAB of the decision or to discuss any insurance arrangements, other than saying “It’s obviously a financial hit.”

[Related: My Brief History of the NAB Show]

Wharton, who has attended every spring show for more than three decades, expressed sadness for others who have made the spring trek to Las Vegas part of their professional life.

The first of what became the NAB Show was held in 1923, in the earliest days of the modern radio industry. The only cancellation was in 1945.