And the first one is…
Save your money!
I hate to admit this, but when clients or friends from overseas ask me if it’s worth their money to attend the NAB Radio Show, either in the US or Europe I almost always say, “No — with qualificiations.”
Yes, it’s worth it IF you can make appointments in advance for private meetings with specific people you want to know. Acquaintances nurtured over time develop into friendships, and this is where the real exchange of valued information happens, between friends.
No, it’s not worth your time and expense if you expect to learn anything substantive from the various sessions.
First, many panelists are selected based on who they know or how much they’ve “donated” to the NAB, in terms of advertising and/or hosting events. We’re left with the same somewhat tired names who are mostly hoping to have you hire them to do whatever it is they sell.
Second, most panelists and presenters at the Radio Shows are really not very good at this. They rarely offer true insight that you’re not already aware of, and they could learn a lot about leading more dynamic sessions by attending professional presentations from the likes of Seth Godin or Tom Peters.
You won’t see either of those guys doing the typical, boring PowerPoint presentations.
You won’t see either of those guys reading their freaking slides, as if they think you don’t know how to read on your own, and yes, I have seen this at NAB sessions more than once.
You won’t see either of these guys drag you down into loads of statistics and numbers and drone on and on in a mind-numbing monotone asking panelists rehearsed questions to which you already have pretty good general answers.
If you want to see how you can use stats and numbers in a compelling way, check back with this blog at 2pm today for Did You Know?
So, when budgets are as tight as they are now, I suggest you skip the hug-fest that the diminished NAB Conventions are these days, and instead spend your money going to a specific market, meeting a specific GM (like Jerry Lee), listening to radio stations that still believe in some sort of local connection, and thinking.
Yes, thinking. Because you can’t really do that very well when you’re doing 20 other jobs back home, running your own station.
Or, find out when Seth or Tom or Roy Williams or Tom Asacker is coming to your town, or one near you, and pay to go see them. Because they will make you think, and they will leave you with insights you would not otherwise have.
Sorry, NAB, but that’s the truth.
And if you’ve had a different experience over the past years, I’d love to hear about it.