While the face-to-face meetings, hospitality suites and hallway chatter were sorely missing this year, attendance for the 2020 Radio Show, presented virtually for the first time this year, tracked remarkably close to the most recent in-person versions of the annual conference. According to figures released Friday, the 2020 event drew 2,143 registrants, virtually the same as in-person attendance for the 2019 conference which brought 2,140 attendees to the Hilton Anatole in Dallas and slightly above the 2,130 that made it to the 2018 Radio Show in Orlando.
The week-long digital experience launched Monday, October 5 with a CEO Town Hall and wraps Friday afternoon with a “Backstage Conversation” with half a dozen high-profile morning show hosts. As Inside Radio has been reporting all week, the sessions have provided engaging content, interactive presentations and technology sessions on topics ranging from connecting with consumers and driving local advertiser engagement to listener focus groups conducted via Zoom and audience measurement. In addition that have been discussions about new technologies, podcasting and reinventing leadership.
“Although we regret not being able to meet in person, this week’s Radio Show digital experience provided a welcome opportunity to connect and gain valuable insight on how to prevail during this difficult time and move forward as an industry,” NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith said in a press release.
While the Radio Show is set to co-locate with the larger NAB Show in Las Vegas in fall 2021, the trade group is says it continues to focus on developing digital capabilities and platforms to better engage with its members and event communities year-round. “Although there is no substitute for in-person trade shows, digital events offer greater flexibility in producing and accessing premium content – content that has value and a shelf life beyond the event itself,” NAB Senior VP of Communications Ann Marie Cumming told Inside Radio. “We see live and digital as great complements to one another and more of a hybrid approach to events going forward.”
RAB President and CEO Erica Farber, who moderated several sessions, said “having the opportunity to gather virtually and connect with broadcasters, advertisers, thought leaders and partners this week has been tremendously valuable.” She added that all Radio Show content will continue to be made available for on-demand viewing through the end of the year.