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Breaking: NAB Show moves to Fall 2021

The National Association of Broadcasters has decided to move the 2021 NAB Show from April to October of next year.

Las Vegas, NV (September 9, 2020)—The National Association of Broadcasters has decided to move the 2021 NAB Show from April to October of next year.

President/CEO Gordon Smith broke the news in an announcement to the industry. The new dates are Oct. 9 to 13, 2021, in Las Vegas.

Also announced: the 2021 fall Radio Show will be held concurrently in Vegas.

The question of what NAB might do in 2021 with the huge spring event — after cancelling it in 2020 just a few weeks before the show in the face of COVID-19 — has been a pressing and closely watched one as the industry moved into autumn for the Northern Hemisphere and as organizations began planning next year’s travel (or lack of it) without clarity on when the world health situation would ease.

The decision affects a lot of people. Registration at the most recent physical NAB Show in 2019 was reported by the association at around 91,460 people, more than a quarter of them from abroad.

Smith said NAB was aware of “a good deal of reluctance around participating in large events in the first half of next year.” He wrote that the pandemic “remains a significant threat and the evidence suggests it will be well into next year before it could be under control in the U.S.”

He said NAB also had concerns “around being able to deliver the type of event in April that will not only drive results, but one that can be produced safely for all involved and without significant limitations on the experience.”

“Moving NAB Show to October means we are considering alternative 2021 dates for NAB Show New York, held annually in October,” Smith wrote.

“On the plus side, the 2021 Radio Show will co-locate with NAB Show in Las Vegas, as will NAB’s Sales and Management Television Exchange; and there is opportunity to add additional partner events.” (Next year’s Radio Show had been slated for New Orleans.)

An NAB spokeswoman told Radio World that the following year’s spring show schedule is not affected; that convention is scheduled for April 23-27, 2022.

Smith didn’t mention other shows by name but wrote, “We have done our best to avoid direct conflicts with other domestic and international events, and have reached out to allied organizations and partners to both share our thinking in advance and to offer to work collaboratively toward turning this into an opportunity for all.” The IBC Show is another large event around that time of year; it is slated next year for mid-September.

Earlier, planners of another big Vegas show, the 2021 CES, announced that their event this coming January would be held virtually

Also today, Chris Brown, NAB’s EVP of conventions, wrote to exhibitor partners, “We did not make this decision lightly and we’d like to thank you for your continued support and guidance over the last few months as we considered your feedback while also monitoring the ongoing health and safety concerns around the fight to contain the pandemic in the U.S., the projected state of the economy and travel restrictions around the world.”

Brown told exhibitors that the NAB Show staff “will be in touch in the coming weeks to review next steps to reserve your participation in the 2021 NAB Show.”

This story by Paul McLane originally appeared at

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