“Everybody Loves Raymond.” Just about everybody loves TV and radio. And lots of people love Las Vegas.
That’s why thousands of people in the broadcast industry are converging on Southern Nevada this weekend for the annual National Association of Broadcasters convention and trade show.
Nearly 93,000 people from 156 countries have registered for the show, which opens Saturday for affiliated conferences within the association and in earnest with a major trade show on Monday.
The convention is not open to the public.
The opening weekend will include the startup of the Broadcast Engineering Conference, the Broadcast Management Conference and the Technology Summit on Media, all affiliated with NAB.
Every exhibit hall and one parking lot at the Las Vegas Convention Center have been dedicated to this year’s six-day gathering that not only attracts television and radio celebrities but back-of-the-house production professionals that keep their stations on the air.
“The international scope of the NAB show continues to grow, representing a huge segment of the event’s attendee and exhibitor base,” said Dennis Wharton, NAB’s executive vice president of communications. “We will once again bring the world of media and entertainment together in Las Vegas, where at NAB show connections will be made, business will be done and ideas will be shared.”
Among the entertainers who will be present: the cast of the syndicated sit-com “Everybody Loves Raymond,” which will be inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Cast members expected to attend include Las Vegas comedy showroom staples Ray Romano and Brad Garrett and their cast colleagues, Patricia Heaton, Doris Roberts and Monica Horan, along with the show’s creator, Phil Rosenthal.
The show ended its network run in 2005 but still enjoys a large syndicated TV audience.
Popular radio personality, author and game-show host Steve Harvey also will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year.
The radio host of “It’s Showtime at the Apollo” and “The Steve Harvey Morning Show” also took a turn as host of television’s “Family Feud.”
FOCUS ON BUSINESS
The NAB show also is about business.
More than 1,550 exhibitors, including 600 from outside the United States and 200 exhibiting for the first time at NAB, will display and demonstrate their products starting Monday.
The nation’s major broadcast companies have scheduled affiliate meetings throughout the conference.
Fox Television and the CW Network will host meetings with their affiliated television station representatives during the show and affiliate boards of directors of ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox will have gatherings.
Throughout the event, experts will address industry issues, including the federal regulation of the broadcast spectrum, marketing and advertising restrictions, the blurring of broadcast and Internet entertainment business models, media ownership rules and protecting the rights of broadcast journalists. Among the highlight speeches will be a state-of-the-industry address by NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith and a question-and-answer session by Smith with Haim Saban, chairman of Univision Communications Inc. on Monday. Saban also is founder of Saban Capital Group and the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.
A variety of broadcasting regulatory issues will be addressed Tuesday by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler in an FCC keynote.
BOON FOR HOTELS, BAD FOR TRAFFIC
While broadcast business news will have a Las Vegas dateline during the show, the event is good for local business.
NAB is the fourth largest show by attendance on the city’s convention calendar. The projected 92,400 attendees would equal the number of NAB conventioneers that met in Las Vegas a year ago.
The LVCVA projects the convention will produce an estimated economic impact of $121.4 million on the city.
Shows of that magnitude produce millions in spinoff revenue. Hotels benefit from high midweek occupancy and daily room rates, airlines are packed on the front and back ends of the show and the Nevada Taxicab Authority approved extra cabs to serve the city during the show.
Some organizations use the city’s shows and hospitality venues for their own corporate celebrations during the week.
But there is a down side.
The show will produce heavy traffic on the streets around the Convention Center, particularly in the hours around the opening and closing of the trade-show floor. Show floor hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Wednesday, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Thursday.
The show will have its own shuttle buses operating between resorts and the Convention Center.
NAB is a staple on the Las Vegas convention calendar. The association has met in the city 33 times since 1975. In 1991, the association decided to have the show in Las Vegas permanently and it has been here annually ever since. The show already has dates on future calendars: April 11-16, 2015; April 16-21, 2016; and April 22-27, 2017.
Contact reporter Richard N. Velotta at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3893. Follow him on Twitter @RickVelotta.