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What Radio Exhibitors at NAB Show Are Saying About Coronavirus

The April NAB Show has been indefinitely postponed as of March 11

COVID-19 close up
CREDIT: Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM

This article is periodically updated. Company statements are added as they are received, with the most recent listed first.

March 11, 2:01 p.m.:  The April NAB Show has been called off. NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith wrote in an email, “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.” 

March 11: Technology and multimedia company Avid has announced it will not go to Vegas for the NAB Show next month. Also, major Las Vegas hotel proprietor MGM Resorts says it will temporarily close its buffets due to concerns over COVID-19. However, on March 10, NAB reiterated that they are moving forward with plans for the show, while following guidance from the WHO and CDC. To date, radio companies have told RW that they still will exhibit at the show.

March 9:  Today a notable name on the TV side of the industry withdrew; Ross Video will not exhibit. “Ross has been at every NAB since 1974 and this has not been an easy decision to take, but we have a clear duty to our employees, our customers and families,” said CEO David Ross.

March 6: As we’ve reported, organizers have said the NAB Show is proceeding as planned, and they’ve laid out resources for planning and safety precautions.

In response to questions from readers and vendors, Radio World reached out this past week to a sampling of radio industry exhibitors, specifically, to ask whether the coronavirus situation has affected their own planning for the Las Vegas event. Video companies AJA, Zaxcom and Nikon have withdrawn and the PBS TechCon has been cancelled, but radio entities that have replied to RW so far have said, on or off the record, some variation of “We plan to be there while monitoring the situation for further developments.”

RW will post public responses below and add or update as we receive them.

Q: What impact if any does the coronavirus situation have on your company’s plans to exhibit at the NAB Show?

WorldCast Group (March 6) — Co-President Christophe Poulain: “WorldCast has not missed a single NAB over the past couple decades and we have no plans to cancel our participation this year. Our European staff, myself included, will be on the floor unless we are restricted to travel due to quarantine or health issues obviously. Our colleagues based in the U.S. will be there for sure. We are closely monitoring all travel restrictions and we are thankful to NAB organizers for their regular communication and the efforts that they are putting into ensuring the safety of exhibitors and visitors. We look forward to seeing everyone soon!” WorldCast will be in Booth N5206.

Broadcast Electronics/Elenos Group (March 5) — COO/CSO Perry Priestley: “Broadcast Electronics and the Elenos Group are closely watching the evolving spread of the COVID19 virus and weighing the potential risks for the health of our employees and customers at the upcoming NAB 2020. At this time, we intend to exhibit, and in fact introduce, several exciting new products.” Priestley said the company also will participate with three other exhibitors in an NAB kickoff webinar for customers who cannot attend. Broadcast Electronics and Elenos will be in Booth N3003.

Orban (March 4) — President David Day: “If NAB is not cancelled, we plan to minimally staff the Orban booth. Due to the coronavirus impacting the West coast, Bob Orban has elected to remain at home this year. He does this regretfully, considering that this will be the first NAB he has missed in more than 45 years, but he will be available to video chat every day from our NAB booth N5225.”

Tieline (March 4) — CEO Will McLean: “Tieline is monitoring local, state and federal health advice and NAB Show news daily regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, but we are preparing for the show to go ahead as planned. With offices in both the U.S. and Australia, we need to plan well in advance for the team to travel and also to prepare logistically for the convention. The health and well-being of our employees is paramount and we will be guided by the advice of relevant authorities in coming weeks, however we clearly hope the show goes ahead as planned. We have always employed vigilant hand sanitizer and cleaning product routines throughout the show, but no doubt will be extra attentive this year to look after our staff and all visitors as much as possible.” Tieline will be in Booth N6214.

WideOrbit (March 4) — CEO Eric Mathewson: “WideOrbit looks forward to connecting with our customers and prospects at NAB every year and that remains true for NAB Las Vegas 2020. The health and well-being of both our clients and our team are top priorities, so we’ll continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely and reevaluate if circumstances change. Whether in-person at NAB or through other channels, we will always stay close to our customers.” WideOrbit will be in Booth SU5802.

GatesAir (March 3) — President and Managing Director International Rich Redmond: “There are innumerable sensitivities to consider when it comes to global travel and the coronavirus, the most important of which have to do with the health and well-being of our employees, customers and colleagues. We are actively monitoring official health reports and will take the appropriate guidance and precautions outlined by the CDC and the World Health Organization. In the meantime, we anticipate that NAB will take place, and our plans and preparation for the show continue. We’re grateful that the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has taken steps to ensure the safest possible environment inside the LVCC, confirmed through recent industry reports.” Gates Air will be in Booth N3403.

Inovonics (March 3) — President/CEO Ben Barber: “Currently we are fully committed to the NAB 2020 show and have not changed our plans at all. Each year we give out ‘Swag Bags’ with different items in it like a flashlight, USB charger and an Inovonics catalog. This year we will be adding hand sanitizer to the gifts! I think people will appreciate it. Viva Las Vegas!” Inovonics will be in Booth N6525.

Logitek Electronic Systems (March 3) — Sales and Support Manager John Davis: “Logitek is monitoring updates from the CDC and NAB daily and is planning to attend the NAB Show. We have purchased extra cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer beyond what we usually bring with us to Las Vegas. Based on the current guidance, as long as we follow some common sense guidelines, we feel we should be at the show.” Logitek will be in Booth C2030.

[Read: LVCC Takes Precautions Against Coronavirus]

Arrakis (March 3) — Sales Engineer Ben Palmer: “The coronavirus is a significant concern, and we are hopeful the situation improves quickly. We still have time before the conference, and are hopeful that the virus can be contained before then. Other conferences have shut down for various reasons, and it is easy to see the wisdom in those decisions. We at Arrakis have always enjoyed visiting with our customers and friends at NAB each year, as well as creating new relationships, but we will respect whatever decision is made by NAB. Fortunately, conferences aren’t as needed as they once were. Customers can visit our website, speak with our dealers, sales and support staff, and get all they need to help with their purchase decisions. That all said, so long as NAB is not cancelled, Arrakis Systems is planning on attending.” Arrakis will be in Booth N3012.

Comrex (March 3) — Senior Director of Sales Chris Crump: “Currently, the COVID-19 outbreak has not affected our plans to be at NAB2020 in Las Vegas. While some vendors have taken proactive steps and withdrawn from the exhibition, we are monitoring the guidance offered by NAB Show organizer and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. NAB is our most important show of the year for meeting with our customers, sharing new product ideas and providing them with tech updates. It’s hard for us to even imagine not being there. We will continue to monitor the advice of local, state and federal health officials and updates from show organizers. I know we’ve stocked up on hand sanitizer and plan to be extra vigilant in order to stay healthy during NAB.” Comrex will be in Booth C2336.

The Telos Alliance (March 3) — Executive Vice President of Sales, Support and Marketing Marty Sacks: “The Telos Alliance is watching the coronavirus very closely and paying attention to information from NAB, World Health Organization, and CDC. The safety of our staff and partners are top priority. The virus has had a profound effect on our partners all over the world, who are in our thoughts and prayers. As of now, we are in a position of vigilance, but expect the show to go on and are planning accordingly.” The Telos Alliance will be in Booth C3007.

The NAB Show drew 91,500 attendees last year, including about 24,000 from outside the U.S., according to NAB’s post-show tally.

RW sister publication TV Technology is also tracking exhibitors in the television and video space’s NAB Show plans. Read about those developments here.


[Related: Here’s a link to the Centers of Disease Control page of guidance to organizers of large events.]