Remember the fall Radio Show in Washington a couple of years ago?
This one is nothing like that.
I like to share the vibe from the exhibit floor because I believe a healthy manufacturer/supplier marketplace is crucial to the strength of our business. Also, I’ve worked my share of booths in my life, and I know that a convention can have a different vibe “on the floor” than it does in sessions. It’s hard to break the habit of judging the success of a convention from that perspective.
Business activity in the U.S. radio manufacturing sector generally remains soft, based on anecdotal evidence; this is not surprising considering that radio revenue itself has been essentially flat in the United States for several years. Also, this is not a tech-heavy event. One person I met called it an RAB show on steroids.
Nevertheless the mood here among vendors at the U.S. commercial broadcast industry’s fall radio event generally seems upbeat. Corporate engineering executives are in evidence, and business is being done.
Headlines from the convention will focus on keynotes and session conversations about such things as FM chips, streaming strategies, who will buy the broadcast business at Harris and whether to change technical regulations to help out AM stations. We are covering all of those stories for you as we go along in Radio World.
But as for the Radio Show itself, as judged from the floor, the 2012 iteration feels bright, upbeat and efficient. The Hilton Anatole is a smart pick for a venue. Important sessions are placed strategically to help maximize foot traffic through the aisles. Food and drinks are timed conveniently. You can get cell coverage. And you can stand in one booth without tripping into another.
It’s a good model for future conferences.
Postscript: Shortly after I wrote the above, one exhibitor said it had been slow and disappointing. And indeed the floor had slowed considerably by late Thursday.... Ah, trade shows.