RTNDA board OKs NAB show combo

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The Radio-Television News Directors Association board of directors Friday
voted to merge its annual convention with the National Association of
Broadcasters show, planned for April in Las Vegas.

The RTNDA's executive committee had recommended the move Wednesday, and a
vote of the full board was held by conference call Friday afternoon.

RTNDA president Barbara Cochran said the convention will have both joint and
separate programs for NAB and RTNDA registrants.

'We expect that some NAB registrants will attend RTNDA programs and some
RTNDA registrants will attend NAB programs,' she said. 'But RTNDA will have a
complete schedule and separate exhibit pavilion.'

In the mid-1990s, the RTNDA held conventions jointly with the NAB's radio
show.

The RTNDA will draw on the agenda from its canceled September show, Cochran
said, with some post-Sept. 11 news issues naturally added.

A merger of the two shows cancels the RTNDA's planned September confab in
Long Beach, Calif., and likely leaves the organization with some penalties
associated with commitments made regarding Long Beach and future shows.

It also, members suggested, redefines the annual convention, which has
historically rotated its locations in order to visit different parts of the
country -- before this year's canceled show in Nashville, Tenn., its last
locations were Minneapolis; Charlotte, N.C.; San Antonio; and New Orleans.

The NAB's Las Vegas location will likely attract some RTNDA members and
alienate others, and while some regional drive-in traffic might be lost,
low-cost airfares might bring other gains.

With the loss of the 2001 convention, the organization has already resolved
to strengthen its regional programs.

Still, the synergies for the RTNDA and the NAB are clear.

A conference strengthened by NAB speakers and programs might be an easier
sell to station management, which has been cutting back on travel expenses.

And as a show that promotes shopping and is better timed for purchases than
the RTNDA's September event, the NAB's exhibit hall already displays a
significant amount of newsroom and newsgathering equipment and technology, and
an audience of news decision-makers would certainly be welcome.

The RTNDA was forced to cancel its 2001 show because the events of Sept. 11
happened just as the convention was about to open.

RTNDA leaders were already in Nashville, and they were left scrambling to
return to their newsrooms despite the grounding of all domestic
flights.

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