The Alabama Broadcasters Association will pay for 20 broadcasters to attend the NAB Show or associated events this October, and it plans a drawing to choose them.
The association has allotted up to $2,500 per person to cover airfare to Las Vegas, meeting registration and hotel; it will conduct the drawing on April 30.
Radio World asked ABA President Sharon Tinsley about the program.
Radio World: What prompted this effort?
Sharon Tinsley: It has been a tough year for broadcasters and budgets are tight. This is a way the ABA can help broadcasters attend the trade shows and have the continuing education opportunities they need at a time when they might not have the funds to do so on their own.
RW: What are the general guidelines?
Tinsley: We’re requiring that persons who submit their names be employees of member stations; they must have worked in the state in the business for at least three years; they have to include a narrative about how they hope to benefit from the experience; and a manager must also submit the employee’s name to be included in the drawing.
RW: Has ABA done this before?
Tinsley: We’ve done this on a much smaller scale in the past. We’ve offered to pay registration fees to the NAB’s Sales and Management Television Exchange and the fall Radio Show for several years, for up to five people to attend each. This year, we’re offering to cover the majority of the cost and for many more people.
RW: What is your general sense of the willingness of broadcasters to get back to physical trade shows and other in-person events?
Tinsley: I sense that people are eager to attend meetings in person again. We’re getting a great response to announcements like this one about the NAB meetings and our plans to host the ABA conference in person later this year.
Our vaccination rollout is going well in Alabama. In half our counties, over 30% of the population has had at least one dose. At this point, all persons over age 16 are eligible. We are ahead of the national average for vaccinations.
RW: What else should we know?
Tinsley: We’re hosting an in-person gathering of about 35 broadcasters at a Birmingham area hotel ballroom to view the National Association of Broadcasters’ State Leadership Conference together in May. We are taking measures to ensure everyone’s safety with only one or two people each at large dining table. We’re doing everything we can to bring people together, but keep them far enough apart!
Also, we are awarding $25,000 in Education Debt Retirement Grants this year, through which we will pay off $5,000 of student debt for five broadcasters. This is our second year to do this. And we are endowing a $50,000 scholarship fund at another Alabama college or university this spring. It will be our third year to do so.
Alabama broadcasters interested in the program should contact Sharon Tinsley. The deadline is April 30 at 4 p.m. Central time.
The NAB Show is scheduled for Oct. 9–13 in Las Vegas. The fall Radio Show is collocated with it on Oct. 13 and 14. Registrants to SMTE and the Radio Show can access to NAB Show exhibit floor at no additional cost.