Without a doubt, the downturn in the economy has really hurt this year’s activities for many of the journalism organizations and RTNDA is definitely feeling it. Barely 500 people were registered as of yesterday, with the hopes of some walk-ins today. That’s a far cry from the over 1,000 people that used to attend just a few years ago.
Since RTNDA had to cancel its 2001 convention due to the terrorist attacks of 9/11 (they happened the day before the kick-off of the convention in Nashville) and started doing its show in conjunction with NAB in Las Vegas, attendance has gradually dwindled, with the biggest drop this year. Also largely absent: exhibitors. Many of them have actually moved to the gigantic exhibit floor at the Las Vegas convention center itself, leaving the RTNDA exhibit floor largely deserted.
RTNDA leadership is trying to reinvent the organization, which is going through some serious financial challenges. Probably the biggest change which will take effect soon is the changing of the organization’s name. It will no longer be RTNDA – Radio and Television News Director’s Association, but RTDNA – Radio Television Digital News Association. This change is supposed to bring in more new members and accept the evolution of the news business itself.
For the many who were unable to attend, RNTDA is blogging live from the convention.