7 Ideas for the NAB Convention

Bigger, Better & More Affordable

Since consolidation, the annual NAB Conventions have become less and less significant.

Last year, most of my clients couldn’t justify the expense of even sending the GM, much less the PD or marketing people. And the Euro NAB was cancelled altogether.

Granted, it will be tough to have gatherings as compelling as we used to 20 years ago if more than half the stations don’t allow their personnel to attend, but IF — and I realize it’s a big if — those who plan the convention follow these ideas, it will be a lot harder to ignore the buzz generated afterwards.

Let me state first that these are not my ideas. These are better than my ideas, and the source is Jackie Huba at Church of the Customer blog.

1. Provide Killer Content. That means new voices, new panel faces, and new ideas, rather than recycling the same tired dogma of those who buy convention ads and who have been part of every NAB for 25 years. Enough already.

2. Feature New Technology. Let’s see and hear from the guys who are supposed to be making our industry obsolete, and let’s make it easy to see how what they offer works in real time, right there.

3. Offer a way to attend via web conferencing. Sure, I would rather have a huge on-site attendance. It makes it more fun. It makes networking easier. But if you live-stream your sessions for a reasonable price, think how much farther you can spread your ideas, and how many more voices you can hear. If the goal truly is to make our industry better, why wouldn’t this happen?

4. A Better Customer Experience. The format hasn’t changed in 40 years. Surely, someone in the NAB can think of things to spice up the fun factor for those who actually do spend the time and money to attend in person. Cocktail parties on opening night? Lunches with speakers? Please, we can do better than that. The last R&R Convention hosted by Erica Farber was on the right track with their Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament. This should be FUN, not a class room.

5. Be Bold! Be Creative! Offer something I cannot live without. Give me a keynote speaker or a session that I simply can’t miss. Give the stage to some of those who have been driven OUT of our business over the past 10 years and LISTEN to what they have to say. Let me meet people who are doing something totally different, yet succeeding, and find out why and how.

If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got — and lately, that’s been pretty disappointing.

6. Humor works! We’re in the entertainment business. Why is everyone and everything so darn serious? It’s not like we don’t have funny people we can hire to perform. And if they’re not in Radio, what does that say about our talent??

7. Make it affordable. Give non-NAB members and the increasing number of station employees who are paying their own way to be there a price they can afford in these difficult economic times. This is show business. If we can’t sell sponsorships to our own conventions so that our own employees can afford the price, shame on us. It’s expensive to attend, with air fare, hotels, taxis, and food. Attendance shouldn’t cost more than $100. Make it impossible not to attend.

Feel free to add your own great ideas, and then find someone, somewhere who has the ear of the right people to suggest some of these changes, now!

Or, I think our conventions will soon be a thing of the past…