If you’re one of the lucky ones, you’re in Las Vegas right now attending NAB/RTNDA. As someone who has spent a lot of time at both these conventions and in Las Vegas, let me give you a few tips on do’s and don’t’s while in Sin City:
Goof off... First things first: Don’t spend too much time at the convention. Everyone back at your station thinks you are goofing off—sitting by the pool, or playing blackjack anyway. No matter how much you try and tell them you were working at the convention, they won’t believe you. Since they think you are goofing off, you might as well do it. The pool at the Hard Rock is awesome.
Gambling... Do not try and write your losses off on your expense account. Believe me, it doesn’t work. One year I got a bunch of blank cab receipts and used them to try and write off my losses. The business manager busted me big time. It seems that I would have had to have taken a cab from Las Vegas to Tampa to cover all the expenses I was asking for.
Parties... There will be a number of parties going down at NAB (of course the F-ckedTelevision.com party will be the best, but it is invite only). It is a good idea you don’t get hammered while attending these parties. One year a guy I knew got smashed at the CNN party and woke up the next day in Atlanta.
Booth Babes... Many companies hire a bunch of hotties to staff their booths on the convention floor. No matter how hard you try, they are not going to meet you later for a drink. These girls work many of the Vegas conventions and they have heard just about every pick-up line there is (mostly from me). Don’t waste your time; you have a better chance sleeping with someone from CNN.
Free Stuff... Here’s a hint; don’t go to any booth that doesn’t offer free crap. If you follow my rules, you will not be at the convention long anyway, so only go where you get the free swag (stuff we all get). Also, since you will lose all of your money at the tables, the free stuff is great to give to your kids when you get home. They will think you are a cool parent and the stuff costs you nothing.
Dress... Don’t wear a suit and tie on the floor, nice shorts and a T-shirt are fine. You will always see some guy at his first RTNDA all decked out in a suit and tie and sweating his ass off. Everyone there will know he is a rookie.
Job Hunting Part 1... There will be a number of college kids there that will be trying to find a job (you will be able to spot them because they will have suits on). Do not lead these poor kids on by making them think you are going to give them a job. Every year I see some scum-sucking news director talking to some college coed and leading her on just so he can score. Also, if you are a male student at RTNDA, don’t even bother looking for a job, no one is going to talk with you. If you are already in Las Vegas and you are a male college student, your only hope is to hook up with some hot coed and do your job search together. At least the ND will have to talk to you.
Job Hunting Part 2... There will also be a number of news directors that will be doing their own job hunting (they will also be wearing suits). These are NDs that want to move up in markets or are about to get canned. They are hoping to find something new quickly. Stay away from these people at all cost.
Bigwigs... The big market GMs and news directors will be walking around RTNDA like the Pope taking a stroll through Rome. They will act like they want no one to talk to them, because they are just too big for all of this. In reality they want you to run up to them and drool all over them. My tip is to try and trip them as they walk by.
Anyway, those are just some of my tips on how to survive the convention. Have fun, enjoy yourself and don’t lose too much money. Lastly don’t forget to ask the cab driver for some blank receipts; they can be a lifesaver.
Scott Jones is a former photographer, reporter, assignment editor, producer, executive producer, and Top 20 news director. He runs www.ftvlive.com and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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