The NAB Show in Las Vegas has long been the biggest trade show for broadcasting, both audio and television.
After two years of living in the COVID wilderness, it is back this April, and for the first time the annual Radio Advertising Bureau’s Radio Show, usually held later in the year, will be integrated into this year’s program.
Mike Hulvey is Chairman of the Radio Advertising Bureau, sits on the NAB Radio Board and is COO and VP for Neuhoff Communications.
He sat down with radioinfo’s Wayne Stamm to talk about this year’s Radio Show, and the excitement of getting broadcasters back together again.
radioinfo: The Radio Show has always been a more intimate event because of it’s smaller size. Will that be the same in Vegas?
Mike: One of the challenges that we, as the committee have undertaken is to ensure that sense of community within the radio broadcasters in knowing that the NAB show is so huge.
And in the past, you know, a hundred thousand plus attendees, the radio show is never quite that large, but one of the things that was so important to attendees is something you just mentioned, and that is that sense of community where you, you know, you can literally lean on a table and have a conversation in the hallway.
And so (having) the planning team understanding that that the radio show is now a part of the larger NAB show, we really wanted to make sure that we focused on those those opportunities to to network and to communicate and have that sense of community.
radioinfo: So what do you see as being some of the highlights for this year?
Mike: So more radio sessions planned than what there has been at the radio show in the recent past and more radio sessions than there have been at the NAB show.
I just had a conversation yesterday with Erica Farber of the Radio Advertising Bureau, who is just, she is, you know, globally just an amazing ambassador for radio…and we were talking about the issue of students because one of the things that’s been very important to me through my time in planning the radio show and now and in the chairman of the Board of the RAB in that is, are we spending enough time on the next generation and bringing them forward into our industry?
You can’t sit back and say, “Well, it’s all just a bunch of old people that are in the radio business” and not do anything about it.
And so since 2015, we have emphasized bringing college students to the radio show and introducing college students to professionals like you and me and others, and explaining this is the career opportunity that exists moving forward because our industry is changing.
Radio has evolved in its definition. So being able to connect to the next generation at the radio show is so important.
And again, back to my conversation with Erica, you know, it looks like we’ll have one hundred and twenty five to one hundred and fifty college students who will be with us seeing the excitement themselves and being able to interface with broadcasters and knowing that there is a bright and robust future for them.
So that’s a piece of what’s coming in Vegas.
radioinfo: So the program for that starts on the Monday?
Mike: Actually, the program, the first official activity starts on Saturday, so I know for local broadcasters… there is a series of roundtable discussions that are being planned for the afternoon of Saturday, April the 23rd.
Then we get into the more formal activities and in the show’s official opening on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday for content and a few surprises, some of the award’s things.
I mean, we’re in Vegas, so there’s got to be some surprises in terms of entertainers and who you might see in the hallway. I can’t tell you, you know, I think it needs to stay in my sleep, but I will tell you that it will be worth the price of admission for those that will attend the NAB show and the Radio Show within the NAB Show.
radioinfo: Gordon Smith has retired as CEO/President of the NAB. What do you think is his legacy to radio in particular?
Mike: Talk about the right person in the right seat at the right time.
And when I think about Gordon Smith or Senator Smith in deference to his time as a legislator in the United States Senate, that one of the benefits of a Gordon Smith is his ability to be able to get a door to open right?
And in that role, with the National Association of Broadcasters, you know, as we look at the issues that impact our industry and where we’re going in times of transition, you know, to have someone sitting in the seat that one, understood what we did and appreciate what we do, and then also have the ability to articulate our issues and to get doors open that need to be open for conversations to occur, he’s been that.
He’s been an enthusiastic supporter of broadcasting, and in particular, he’s been a very important and enthusiastic person as it relates to radio, and I think one of the things when I watch Gordon, I mean, he’s very genuine and sincere individual.
As it relates to radio, I think one of the things that has impacted the most is his ability to have local conversations and what radio broadcasters do in their local markets to have local conversations and local impacts.
He gets that, and he appreciates that and in his time at the National Association of Broadcasters, I believe, you know, will always be viewed upon as a time of great stewardship and someone who advocated on our behalf, but he’s done a terrific job.
The full interview is here.