Radio World’s colleague Tom Butts, the editor of TV Tech, interviewed Curtis LeGeyt, the new president/CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters, who attended the 2022 International CES. This is an excerpt of a longer story that appears at tvtech.com.
“I think CES and [CTA President] Gary Shapiro and his team deserve a ton of credit, and I think the health and safety protocols here are proving to be very, very successful,” LeGeyt said.
“Everyone out on the CES show floor is masked, and there’s room for distancing. I’m very, very encouraged by the feedback I’m getting from exhibitors here and also what I’m seeing for myself. I think that’s gonna put real wind in our sails and makes me very encouraged for April.”
Despite the current omicron wave, LeGeyt is “100%” confident that the show will go on as scheduled.
“I think that this week demonstrates that there is a lot of pent up demand — both on the exhibitor side and the attendee side — for an in-person show where business actually gets done,” he said.
“They were able to pull this off in what I would consider to be the worst possible timing, and all signs indicate that we are going to be in a much, much better place from a health and safety perspective as a country in April.
“We are pacing very, very well in terms of both exhibitor and attendee interest in our show,” LeGeyt added. “Granted, it’s a little like comparing apples and oranges, but metrics wise, it’s really positive compared to even our previous ‘pre-COVID’ shows. And so we’re extremely optimistic.”
When asked if NAB would impose the same safety protocols as CES, LeGeyt said the association planned to follow CDC guidelines.
“I think that that’s going to be something that we continue to monitor between now and April because the health and safety guidance from the CDC continues to evolve,” he said. “But we will have a vaccination requirement consistent with what CES has done.”
LeGeyt also said that attending CES has given him more insight into how changes at the Las Vegas Convention Center will affect the April show.
“I think what I’m seeing at CES validates some changes that were already underway in terms of the format of our show floor,” he said. “The new West Hall is going to be a new venue for us in April, and I think it affords all kinds of opportunities for a little bit more of an innovative layout.
“Our designers were already taking advantage of that to basically ensure that, depending on what phase of the business cycle you’re in — whether you’re an exhibitor, whether you’re in content creation, whether you’re in distribution, or whether you’re in the business of monetization — that we’ve got a layout set up in a way to make this as efficient as possible for the attendees who want to be focused on the business partners who match their element of business,” LeGeyt said.
“I think this new layout with the West Hall just gives you a much, much more open and innovative way to organize the show floor and what this validates for me seeing in person is that the footprint that we’ve laid out is going to be a real win for both our exhibitors and for our attendees.”
He also commented that there was “a fairly significant presence of radio broadcasters out here.”