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NAB Show: Third Time’s the Charm

Here are some of the business and management themes of the convention

The new West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, shown in an artist’s rendition, is now open. (photo courtesy of tvsdesign)

Show Dates: Saturday April 23 to Wednesday April 27

Exhibit Schedule: Sunday, 10–6, Monday and Tuesday, 9–6, Wednesday, 9–2

After postponements and cancellations that wiped out the 2020 and 2021 conventions, the NAB Show is set to return IRL — in real life.

This story provides a sampling of themes and sessions about broadcast business and management. In an upcoming story we’ll preview the technical conference and provide a radio exhibitor list.

Content at the April show will be arranged across four verticals: Create, Connect, Capitalize and Intelligent Content. The first three align with broadcasting’s content “life cycle.”

“This reimagination of the NAB Show experience is designed to better curate the attendee journey. In addition to making information more relevant and easier for you to consume, the new 2022 NAB Show model will enable closer connections to the people and solutions involved in modern media workflows,” the association states on its website.

“As you take in Create, for example, you’ll see that the focus is no longer on broadcast, cinema or radio — nor on podcasts, webcasting or any other narrow category. Create will be the home of creation, a single place you can find all the tools you need to do your work, whether you’re a broadcaster, videographer, streamer or other industry professional. If you’re more focused on content distribution and delivery, you’ll find those tools in Connect. And if content monetization is your thing, you’ll discover applicable tools and workflows in Capitalize.”

Content will be arranged across four verticals that are also reflected in the layout of the exhibit floor.

Nevertheless, most of the radio business and management sessions will be found under Capitalize, while radio tech and engineering will be in Connect, and most podcasting content in Create.

“Intelligent Content” is a new showcase that explores “the transformative impact of data, artificial intelligence and automation on the media and entertainment industry.”

A new look

This will be the first NAB Show since the new West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center opened.

“Those returning to the LVCC for the 2022 NAB Show will find some big changes — some REALLY big changes — in store,” wrote Dave Arland, executive director of the Indiana Broadcasters Association in RW’s sister publication TVTech.

“The biggest one is the billion-dollar (with a ‘b’) expansion of the convention center itself. The new West Hall now stand s where the Landmark Hotel was felled for the movie ‘Mars Attacks.’ In place of the parking lots just across Paradise Road from North Hall rises the mammoth West Hall, itself looking like a UFO from another planet. It’s a beautiful expansion of the already-enormous LVCC, linked by both a pedestrian walkway and a space-age underground transportation network.”

The NAB Show will use the West, North and Central Halls.

This also will be the first time exhibits open on Sunday and close on Wednesday.

The Bellagio Resort & Casino is designed as radio’s hotel for the show.

Day by day

Conference presentations this year will be spread around several locations including the Main Stage in the North Hall, conference rooms, exhibit floor presentation areas, the NAB Member Lounge and the Networking Lounge.

Here’s a sampler of radio highlights for each day:

  • The “Small and Medium Market Radio Forum” gets things going for radio managers on Saturday afternoon. It features a forum covering issues chosen for their impact on smaller radio members of the association. Topics may include compensation, recruitment, perceptions of the industry, digital competition and growth, automotive advertising, smart speaker strategies and attracting the next generation of listeners and clients. The closing reception is a networking opportunity. RSVPs are required to [email protected].
  • A Sunday afternoon highlight is the NAB Achievement in Broadcasting Awards on the Main Stage, located in the North Hall.
    David Field, chairman, president and CEO of Audacy

    This event will honor recipients for both 2021 and 2022. “All Things Considered,” the flagship news program of NPR, will be inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame as the 2021 radio recipient. The 2022 radio inductee is Jim Bohannon, host of Westwood One’s nationally syndicated talk show that bears his name. Jeremy Sinon, vice president of digital strategy for Hubbard Radio, will receive the 2022 Digital Leadership Award. It honors a person who “has had a significant role in transforming a traditional broadcast business to succeed on digital media platforms in a measurable way.”

  • Sunday radio-related sessions also include insights on dashboard technologies and initiatives that radio companies are deploying beyond their terrestrial signals.
  • Curtis LeGeyt will give his first “state of the broadcast industry” speech as president/CEO of the NAB on Monday morning, the official show welcome. Also during that session, the association will present the NAB Distinguished Service Award, given to broadcasters who have made significant and lasting contributions to America’s broadcasting industry. The recipient is LeGeyt’s NAB predecessor Gordon Smith, who stepped down this winter.

    Bob Pittman, chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia
  • A radio headliner event is “Transforming Radio in the Audio Renaissance” Monday afternoon. This features David Field, chairman, president and CEO of Audacy, formerly called Entercom, and Bob Pittman, chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia. They’ll engage in a conversation with Curtis LeGeyt about the evolution of radio and how these companies are building “diversified asset portfolios.”
  • Monday’s radio/audio session themes also include protecting your content and battling inauthentic content across platforms; a media ownership discussion; and audience measurement for audio.
  • Tuesday morning sees the presentations of the Crystal Radio Awards, which salute excellence in community service by radio stations. And radio session topics that day include a small- and medium-market radio idea exchange; a look at how to create business partnerships to expand revenue opportunities; and how leaders are embracing change.
  • Midday Tuesday, Radio World Editor in Chief Paul McLane moderates “2022 and Beyond — Hybrid Station Operations,” discussing workflow solutions that have emerged since the pandemic upset standing assumptions across the industry. Guests include George Molnar and Brian Oliger, the senior director of technology and the technology manager, respectively, of WTOP and Federal News Network in Washington, and Sarah Foss, CIO of Audacy.
  • Wednesday features a closing keynote on the Main Stage featuring “Freakonomics” co-authors Stephen Dubner and Dr. Steven Levitt. Conference sessions include discussions of regulatory issues, local sales strategies, research, diversity and the metaverse

And remember to check out the Las Vegas Convention Center Loop, created by Elon Musk’s Boring Company, as the beginning of an ambitious underground travel network. It connects the new West Hall with the existing campus, using three passenger stations.