News has it that Clear Channel EVP/Distribution Development Jeff Littlejohn made the decision as part of the overall cost-cutting the company is undergoing this year: CC will not be sending some 40 corporate engineering managers to the show this year. Obviously, market-level engineers won’t be boarding planes, either. In fact, CC cut folks going to NAB Radio Show five years ago, so this isn’t the first trimming of trade show travel plans.
Let’s see, Apple has dropped out of the show this year, CBS Radio just restructured, eliminating hundreds of positions; Emmis cut 46; CC has a freeze on just about everything right now. How might this affect the NAB Show? We asked a few engineers if the same is happening at their groups, and if so, is it just NAB or other shows/trade events as well?
Gary Smith, Bonneville DOE/Phoenix: "The engineering department at Bonneville Phoenix looks for the opportunities in each situation. We strive to deliver the best quality product to our listeners and our clients. Our association with the NAB, the engineering conference and the many partners that participate in the show are an important component of that equation. The engineering department at Bonneville Phoenix will be represented at the show."
Milford "Smitty" Smith, VP/Engineering, Greater Media: "Our people that usually attend will be attending this year as well. That’s basically our market CEs. For the most part, we’re attending all of the shows we usually do. I just got back from CES a few weeks ago. I usually go there, NAB and the Radio Show. The market chiefs generally go to just NAB. I think just about all of them will be there this year and a couple of them are doing papers.
Gary Kline, Cumulus Corporate Director of Engineering: "As of today we still plan to send our guys."
Cris Alexander, Crawford Broadcasting DOE, CPBE, AMD, DRB, Member AFCCE: "I am registered for the NAB convention and already have my plane tickets. So yes, I do plan to be there. Don Crawford and I are the only two that normally attend, and that will be the case again this year. I usually attend the fall radio show; I don’t as a rule attend state/regional events except for the SBE national meeting on October. I don’t foresee any changes in that regard."
David Stewart, VP/Engineering Univision Radio: "Fortunately for us, our segment of the industry is growing. While the radio sales markets are off a bit generally, and the financial markets queasy, we’re seeing.
The NAB show’s value for us is threefold; chance to network, twist arms to get tech support or deals (sales people in booths don’t want scenes), and the chance to meet face to face with the rest of the company people. It helps us have a team feel if we get in the same room once in a while.
Our 17 cities’ people are a little easier to move than in a company where there are tens or hundreds of people. We usually get someone from every city (usually the engineering manager, sometime a staff member) and probably will this year. We do have fewer people staying for the whole show, and we use our buying power to get good deals for the flights and hotels we do use.
We see the trims in other companies, and don’t want to stand out for the wrong reasons. As I noted, we see value in getting together and in face to face with designers and venders. On the other hand, work and personal changes have affected our convention habits. We are sometimes backed up on projects and need to be building through the show week. With the median age of our engineering managers hovering near 50, personal and family commitments sometimes take precedent. None of us is skipping birth of a grandkid or a wedding to trade war stories with a crowd of peers, great fun though that is."