Go To Conventions

At the TAB convention in Austin earlier this month I was in the middle of one of many great conversations I had with broadcasters when one of them said, ‘this is why we come to conventions, nothing compares to the face-to-face sharing of ideas between like-minded people.’ He went on to talk about how much he missed that during the year, or more, Covid shut down conventions all-together and we tried our best to recreate them via Zoom. I couldn’t agree more. Don’t get me wrong, I love Zoom and Teams, I spend at least half my day using them and I appreciate how that technology has allowed me to spend more time with my family. But, to me our reliance on remote working only makes it that much more important that we stop down a few times a year to gather in-person with each other at broadcast conventions, especially our state conventions. Here are just a few of the direct benefits I see of regularly attending broadcast conventions.

Comparison shopping equipment, software and services. Where else are you going to see virtually every radio automation software company, most RF equipment providers, video and lighting companies and more all in one place? This is top of mind to me because I’ve got a couple projects going where I’m recommending facility upgrades for clients and I feel a lot more confident making those recommendations when I can look at all the options, see them in action, hear the pitches about why they’re better than the others and even talk some numbers.

Hearing from and interacting with industry experts. I’ve never watched a panel at a broadcast convention that I didn’t take something away from and many I walk away from with a handful of actionable ideas. I’ve now been lucky enough to lead some of those panels and hope I’m doing the same for the people who attend. One big recommendation I have for attendees is to ask the hard questions, we want that feedback even if it’s challenging something we’re saying.

It never hurts to network. As I’ve said in the past, and we all know this to be true, in our business you have to network to get work. Getting a new job in radio is as much about who you know as what your resume looks like or your aircheck sounds like. There’s no better way to make those important connections than at conventions where we’re all concentrated in one place. Pro tip: Get a drink or two at the convention hotel’s bar instead of leaving with your colleagues to have a drink elsewhere.

In my previous job that I stayed in for sixteen years I rarely went to broadcast conventions because I wasn’t looking to jump ship, thought I was up on all the latest technology and didn’t like playing catch-up when I returned. Plus, the few times I did go it was hard to implement any of the great ideas when I came back because I was talking to a staff of people who didn’t attend, didn’t get all fired up about whatever I was fired up about and, despite my best efforts to set the scene and recreate the panels and presentations I sat through, it rarely had the same impact. That’s why I think the best move is to encourage as much of our staff as possible to attend in-person, especially the big conventions and our home state convention. It’s not time-off, it’s by no means a vacation, it’s work. But, there’s something about getting out of the office and studio, changing up the routine and talking shop with other people facing the same challenges as we are, that really gets the creative juices flowing.

What do you think? How have you been inspired at a broadcast convention in the past? Comment below or email me at Andy@RadioStationConsultant.com.

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