Just call it RTNDNAB

The Radio-Television News Directors Association Board of Directors last week agreed to merge its annual convention with the National Association of Broadcasters', slated for April 8-10 in Las Vegas.

RTNDA's executive committee had voted to recommend the move on Wednesday, and the board vote was held by conference call Friday afternoon.

The deal, on which NAB had already signed off, is for five years.

Merging the shows cancelsRTNDA's 2002 September confab in Long Beach, Calif.

NAB's Las Vegas location will likely attract some RTNDA members and alienate others, and, while some regional drive-in traffic might be lost, low-cost air fares might bring other gains. With its venue rotation, RTNDA has often benefited from last-minute attendees within driving distance. With the loss of the 2001 convention, which was to have started Sept. 12, the organization has already resolved to strengthen its regional programs.

Still, the synergies for RTNDA and NAB are clear. A conference strengthened by NAB speakers and programs might be an easier sell to budget-conscious station management. And as a show that promotes shopping and is scheduled better for purchases than RTNDA's September event, NAB displays a significant amount of news equipment and technology, and an audience of news decision-makers would certainly be welcome.

RTNDA President Barbara Cochran said RTNDA@NAB will have both joint and separate programs for NAB and RTNDA registrants. "But RTNDA will have a complete schedule and separate exhibit pavilion."

In the mid 1990s, RTNDA held conventions jointly with NAB's radio show.

The loss of the 2001 show could have been financially devastating, but RTNDA this week said its claim for the cancellation—estimated in the low seven figures—will be honored by its insurer.