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Nautel NAB Survey Reflects Pandemic Worries

Exhibitor asked its users if they will attend NAB Show; here’s what they said.

Concerns about the pandemic are the leading reason that some radio engineers won’t be going to the NAB Show in October.

That’s not a startling conclusion; but a survey by transmitter manufacturer Nautel offers some other insights into the plans of past engineering attendees.

[Read: NAB Lists “COVID Protocols” for Fall Show]

Nautel, which will have an exhibit booth at the show, surveyed past attendees of its Nautel User’s Group meetings to assess customer intentions for both October and April. NUG meetings are typically held in conjunction with the show and draw mostly engineers or people with related technical jobs.

Nautel, NUG, NAB Show
This Nautel graphic shows the reasons given by respondents who think they will not attend. (The label that cuts off is “Can learn what I need virtually.”)

The company received about 185 responses to its survey. The number who said they “definitely will” attend the NAB Show in October was about 28%, and another 16% “perhaps” will attend. The number who “definitely will not” attend was 37%.

Nautel noted that the “will not attend” number has grown from 15% who checked that box eight months ago, when the convention was farther out on the calendar and the impact of the pandemic in 2021 was unknown.

Among those who think they won’t attend in October, the pandemic was the option chosen most, as shown in the graphic. The second reason was “rather wait until next year.” (Respondents could choose more than one option.) Others included budget considerations and not wanting to travel by air. Some reasons submitted under “other” were international travel restrictions, uncertainty about mask policies and “too busy.”

The numbers look much different where Nautel asked about attendee plans for next spring. Thirty-four percent said they definitely plan to go, and another 34% said they perhaps will. Only about 4% of past NUG attendees who responded said they definitely plan not to be there next April.

[Read: Evanov Tries Out Hybrid AM HD Radio in Toronto]

Head of Marketing John Whyte told Radio World that Nautel conducted this survey “to make sure we’re gearing up for the event in an appropriate way, to ensure we have the right team in Las Vegas to support show attendees’ needs and make sure we can answer questions about Nautel solutions promptly.

“We’re very excited at the prospect of seeing our customers and colleagues in person once again. It has been too long so we’re hoping, like many in our industry, that October presents a safe environment for us to connect face to face,” he said.

While Nautel does not plan its usual Radio Technology Forum event this fall, it does hope to host a casual product update and AUI briefing session on the Sunday morning. It said details are pending.