Did The NAB Make The Correct Call?


The NAB’s Las Vegas convention makes up 70% of the organization’s revenue. In trying to save its 2021 show, after canceling in 2020, the organization pushed the event from April to October. Then, last month, announced vaccine proof would be required.

It wasn’t enough.

Nevada continues to be labeled a place with high COVID-19 transmission and Clark County, where the NAB show is held, remains “an area of concern,” according to The White House. The county was labeled a COVID-19 “sustained hot spot” on July 5.

The NAB convention, when times are normal, brings in over 100,000 people and big-name vendors from all over the world. It’s one of three top annual trade shows held in Las Vegas. As Delta variant cases increased, big vendors like SONY, Cannon and Adobe pulled out of the show and The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that travel into McCarran International airport is non-existent.

With two years in a row of not having its top revenue generator, what does this mean for the NAB’s financial soundness? NAB Board of Directors Executive Committee Chair, Salem Media Group President, David Santrella told Radio Ink Wednesday that the NAB Board worked with the leadership team following the cancellation of the 2020 NAB Show on a financial game-plan that ensures its long-term health. “While I’m disappointed that the NAB Show cannot be held this year, I know that due in part to steps we took last year, the association is in a good financial position going forward to remain effective for our industry.”

One of the steps taken last year was a one-time assessment on all radio and TV members equal to their membership dues. Will that be enough to for the organization to keep serving broadcasters at such a high level? Legend Communications Managing Partner Larry Patrick is on the NAB Radio Board. “The cancellation of the NAB convention in Las Vegas will create significant financial pressure on the association. The convention provides the majority of the revenues for NAB. It will take time to evaluate the impact given lost deposits, cancellation fees for events and other costs. The NAB and its Board will have to find a way forward to protect American broadcasting and continue to represent us aggressively in Washington.”

Bustos Media President Amador Bustos is also a member of the NAB Radio Board. “As difficult as it has been, both cancellations have been the right thing to do. This will not alter the work or financial soundness of the NAB. The BIG one will be the convention scheduled for April 2022. Hopefully, more people will come to their senses and get vaccinated so all of us can get past these troubles.”

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority issued a statement following the NAB’s decision to cancel the show. “We deeply value our three-decade long partnership with NAB and will greatly miss seeing their exhibitors and attendees this fall. We eagerly await the show’s return in April.”

The 2022 NAB Show is scheduled for April 23-27.

‘Ohana Media Group Owner Trila Bumstead is also on the NAB Radio Board. “I was very much looking forward to reconnecting with my fellow radio broadcasters in-person in Las Vegas in October, but I support the decision to cancel the Show. NAB has worked hard to maintain financial stability while continuing to deliver wins on Capitol Hill and at the FCC. I believe our trade association is well-positioned to serve members into the future.”

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, no other conventions or trade shows have been canceled.



  1. Hey – I wish all of these anti-vac/anti-mask rubes would get together and have their own show. I think that would be a great thing…..for you.

    In fact, why don’t you all just bath in the virus and show us wussy “librels” how real ‘Mericans roll.

    And may you all be buried in your MAGA-T hats.

    Godspeed to the promised land rubes!

    • “And may you all be buried in your MAGA-T hats.”

      Yet again, an “empathetic” liberal — i.e., not, actually — wishing death upon those they disagree with.

      Got it.

  2. This post misstates the newspaper article. It does NOT say that travel to the airport is “non-existent” — the report states that about international travel only, and that’s naturally because of the restrictions placed on travelers by their country of origin departure.

    As a Vegas resident, I know I’m biased here — however, SHRM (Society of Human Relations Management) just successfully held their big convention. In regards to assessing the propriety of going ahead with a meeting, I would think global HR managers would be very sensitive to the risks.

    NAB made an economic decision — when big exhibitors like Sony pulled out, it was more feasible for the association to postpone and hope for a bigger turnout and more money later than take a risk on attendance now. As the article states, it’s the only big show (as of this writing) to cancel. This isn’t to suggest the decision was erroneous…however, it was more about money than about anything else.

  3. What people don’t seem to understand is that the vaccine rule was not only imposed by the NAB. As of August 16, the city of Las Vegas requires proof of vaccination for all large gatherings over 4,000 people. If you want to see the Las Vegas Raiders football team, you must show proof of vaccination. Masks are required at all indoor settings, including casinos, restaurants, showrooms, and convention halls. Masks are required in all public transportation. This isn’t just the NAB. This is the city of Las Vegas and the state of Nevada. Even then, the rate of new infections is at about a thousand a day. It’s not safe yet.

  4. I am both horrified and deeply disappointed by the tone, misinformation and attitude of the responses I see here so far. Of course the NAB made the right decision. A tough decision, a difficult decision to be sure, but correct, none-the-less. What broadcaster has not had to move fast, change direction quickly and make tough calls to keep ahead of this terrible disease? Disappointing, sure. An inconvenience for some, of course. But exactly the right call.

  5. The attendance was expected to be very low. The vaccines have been available for a long time and those who have recovered from COVID19 are immune without the vaccine. Everyone else is putting themselves at risk. We’re all grown-ups who have learned how to protect each other. NO other Las Vegas show has been cancelled. Why don’t these facts matter?

  6. Refusing to come up with a plan to address those who have had Covid, can prove it and continue to have antibodies in our bloodstream is short sighted. Tens of millions of Americans and others internationally are the safest people to congregate with yet the NAB has refused them entry. Why take a Vaccine that cannot replicate and has not replicated what has occurred naturally for tens of millions? Figure it out NAB …. Lots of reading for you to do… until you do,you have limited the NAB’s show success Next April or whenever it happens. As a NAB member who now has had to cancel Registration, Housing, and airfare TWICE….. it is getting tedious.
    I would encourage you to show some courage and some hope. Life’s a risk, but it’s worth every bit of risk to live it !


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