NAB/RTNDA Wrap-up: RTNDA Vegas turnout exceeds expectations

Apr 15, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Less equaled more at the first Radio-Television News Directors Association convention held in conjunction with the National Association of Broadcasters big technology show in Las Vegas last week.
Nearly 1,200 attended rtnda@ nab. That’s about half the number that had been expected in Nashville Sept. 11, when the terrorist attacks led to the cancellation of RTNDA 2001.
But that’s not bad news, because the turnout was higher than RTNDA had projected for the hastily rescheduled gathering at the Las Vegas Hilton, and a whopping two-thirds of the attendance was paid.
There also was evidence that the joint scheduling of the two conventions created a logical time for station-groupwide meetings.
A few such meetings held last week in Las Vegas added executive heft to RTNDA attendance and quality to the debate at afternoon “supersessions” designed to attract RTNDA and NAB attendees.
“All feedback was positive,” said Dave Busiek, RTNDA chairman and news director at Hearst-Argyle-owned KCCI-TV in Des Moines, Iowa.
“The people who work in strategic groups are more aware of us,” said RTNDA President Barbara Cochran. ‘Group executives were reminded it is “extremely valuable” to have an organization in Washington to lobby on behalf of electronic journalists and the TV industry as a whole.
The cross-pollination boosted attendance at the NAB’s traditional power breakfasts-RTNDA attendees thought it was “great” to hear FCC Commissioner Michael Powell-and to the RTNDA’s Paul White dinner, which opened the week with a lifetime achievement award for “NBC Nightly News” anchor Tom Brokaw.
RTNDA, which historically has made half its income off its annual convention, “will be able to keep up our full range of services” this year. “We made our budget on registration,” said Ms. Cochran, who is looking forward to next year when RTNDA will be housed in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
“I think both NAB and we expect it to grow,” she said.