It seems I say this every year: "I can't believe it's time for the NAB convention. Again. Didn't we just ...?"
But it's true. The annual trek for all things broadcasting and media is coming up fast. And whether you're a seasoned veteran with decades of conventions behind you or a first-time attendee, the convention is an overwhelming, ever-expanding marathon of sessions, exhibits and professional interaction.
So what's on your list for this year? As we prepared this issue of Radio magazine, we reviewed the sessions and poured through new product announcements. Like anyone attending the convention, preparation before you go is what makes the trip successful. While it may be tempting to just wander and see what pulls your attention, you'll miss a great deal if you do.
The Broadcast Engineering Conference is the primary focus of sessions for the engineers, and as usual there are lots of interesting topics being covered. It all starts on Saturday with the Society of Broadcast Engineers Ennes (pronounced EN-ness, by the way) Workshop. This daylong technical extravaganza covers topics for radio, TV, IT, online and mobile with case studies, technology reports and discussions. The exhibit floor doesn't open until Monday, so the SBE Ennes Workshop is a great way to spend the day and be completely immersed in broadcast engineering.
On Sunday, the radio focus digs in deeper with the Advancements in Radio Technology session, which explores the transmission and distribution side of radio. The sessions continue during the week to cover network security, EAS, broadcast management, MDCL, radio data and more. One high point of the Broadcast Engineering Conference is the Technology Luncheon on Wednesday, when the NAB recognizes the NAB Engineering Achievement Award winners. We have a session timetable of all the radio-related BEC events on page 44 of the March 2012 issue.
The convention isn't just about the sessions. There's just as much to learn on the exhibit floor. Once again, the front of the Central Hall has been designated the Radio and Pro Audio exhibit areas, although you will find plenty of companies with a radio focus spread around the other halls.
The exhibits always have something interesting to see. If you have a specific shopping list, take some time (and not just the time on the plane en route) to find the exhibitors you need to see and set a path. Our Radio Hall map on page 27 can help. It's easy to get sidetracked while walking the floor, so set an agenda and timetable as well. Once you're looking at the latest new gizmo, it's easy to lose track of time (it's like being in a Las Vegas casino sometimes).
But don't schedule all your time, either. Leave some time to roam and gawk. You might find something you didn't expect. You can also use the free time to go back to an exhibitor for more information. If you still need more time, see if time outside the exhibitor hours can be arranged. You made the trip to the convention, don't leave without every ounce of information.
While you're at the show, be sure to keep an eye out on Wednesday late in the afternoon when Radio magazine will present its Pick Hit Awards to the top new products of the convention. We started this tradition in 1985, and they are the longest-running technology recognition of the convention.
It really is time for the NAB Show. Again ...