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TAB Show Roars Back to Life after Sitting out 2020

- Vendors, Delegates Alike Cheer Return

The relaunch of TAB’s annual convention and trade show Aug. 3-4 was enthusiastically embraced by vendors, delegates and speakers who celebrated the opportunity to get together and conduct business for the first time in two years after COVID shuttered the 2020 show.

Though scaled back from initial plans, the event featured 100 exhibit booths and 30 sessions over a day and a half that attracted more than 1,000 registrants. More than a dozen stations, three longtime industry leaders and three young professionals were honored for their work serving local communities.

Traffic and sales in the trade show were consistently robust, according to vendor reports, as delegates tested new gear, spec’d out various upgrades and closed on deals delayed by the pandemic economy.

The event’s success signals to NAB and other industry players that the market is ripe to reconnect and launch technologies that will power the industry in an increasingly competitive media marketplace, COVID permitting.

Industry Leaders Honored
The closing Awards Gala featured the presentation of Texas broadcasting’s highest honors for established and emerging leaders alike, while the opening Leadership Breakfast – featuring a keynote conversation with NBCUniversal Television President Valari Staab – honored 16 stations for their service to community.

Mark Grubbs, owner/operator of small market KRNH-The Ranch in Kerrville, was named Pioneer of the Year, with a special tribute by John Barger.

The Broadcaster of the Year Award went to Marty Wind, longtime manager of religious non-comm KLUX AM-FM in Corpus Christi, a station owned by the Catholic diocese. Past TAB Chairman and 2017 Broadcaster of the Year Bob White presented the award to his longtime friend.

Norm Phillips, who engineered hundreds of stations across Texas and the country in various roles with Susquehanna, Townsquare Media and other operators, received the George Marti Award for Engineering Excellence as presented by Dan Halyburton of Falls Media Group in Wichita Falls.

Emerging industry leaders receiving the inaugural Jason Hightower Award for Broadcast Excellence included Director of Sales Melissa Rivera with Townsquare Media in Victoria, News Director Josh Gorbutt with Gray Television’s KBTX-TV in Bryan, and Executive Producer of Investigations & News Projects Joe Ellis with TEGNA’s KVUE-TV in Austin.

Congratulations to this year's winners!

At the Leadership Breakfast, KLBK/KAMC-TV Lubbock’s Cindy Gilstrap presented the Bonner McLane Public Service Awards, named in honor of TAB’s first executive director, to TV and Radio stations whose service to their communities stood out among the hundreds of stations across the state.

Three honorees, FOX-owned KRIV-TV Houston, Gray Television’s KBTX-TV Bryan-College Station, and Audacy Houston were recognized for their multi-faceted work helping viewers and businesses survive the pandemic.

Nexstar’s KRBC-TV Abilene was honored for a hugely successful new program promoting child adoptions, while KWVH, an LPFM station in Wimberley, was recognized for their extraordinary service during the February 2021 winter storm that overwhelmed the state’s electrical grid.

Ramar Communications’ Brad Moran announced the stations honored as Lone Star Leaders for their unparalleled support of TAB’s Public Education Partnership program. Winning TV stations included Nexstar’s KNVA and KBVO in Austin led by Eric Lassberg, Scripps’ KRHD in Waco overseen by Adam Chase, and Morgan Murphy’s Victoria stations run by Danny Aguilar.

On the Radio side, Audacy’s KJCE-FM in Austin and KLOL-FM in Houston won top honors among large market stations, while Brazos Valley Communications’ KAPN, overseen by John Siegler, won in the medium market category.

Small market winners included Paul Gleiser’s KRWR-FM in Tyler/Lufkin and Rex Tackett’s KQBZ-FM and KSTA-AM in Brownwood.

The 2022 TAB Show is set to return to the JW Marriott in Austin Aug. 3-4 with a larger trade show and an anticipated schedule of 30 programs for sales teams, managers and engineers.

Questions? Contact TAB’s Oscar Rodriguez or call (512) 322-9944.

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