NAB Says 2021 State Leadership Conference will be Virtual

The National Association of Broadcasters has announced its annual State Leadership Conference, which typically brings hundreds of broadcasters to Washington to swarm the offices of their local members of Congress, will take place in a virtual format in 2021.

The decision was not unexpected, according to a recent report in InsideRadio. The halls of Capitol Hill are a lot quieter than in the past and NAB President Gordon Smith said in September that he was still hearing “a good deal of reluctance” from broadcasters about participating in events in the early months of 2021.

With plenty of unknowns surrounding the pandemic and vaccine distribution, the NAB has now officially decided to go virtual with the event in 2021. An NAB rep said details of the event will be released in the coming weeks.

The 2020 State Leadership Conference in February was one of the few industry gatherings to have occurred before COVID-19 cleared the calendar. But the New Year will be even more important as the 117th Congress will include more than five dozen new members of Congress – including six in the Senate and 59 in the House – and a new administration that has said very little about what its legislative agenda will be in areas that touch broadcasters. The decision not to hold the annual Washington barnstorming will mean radio and TV managers will need to do more outreach in their local districts.