Back in Barcelona, and the first full day of the NAB conference showed how diverse this event is — I’ve seen people from more countries than I knew Europe had.. and a few that certainly aren’t European. As well as a fair stock of Americans, there’s delegates from the Middle East and even New Zealand here — the latter including Vaughan Hobbs, formerly of Heart and Galaxy, but now wearing the badge for NZ network More FM.
Some big US names were talking today, including Doug Harris from Houston and Pat Welsh from Pollack Media Group in California, but both had the misfortune of being up against Francis Currie talking about the success of the Rhythmic AC format — in particular, Heart. As is often a quirk of these events, the programme and reality don’t always tie in… in this case the paperwork still referencing Francis as being at Heart.
The food has been great as ever, with delegates enjoying a generous portion of chicken at lunchtime, and a good number of pastries throughout the day. The free bar at the Google happy hour was also popular, with champagne continually flowing.
At this point things got a little confusing, with the arrival of people for the European Radio Awards, who rightly joined in with the drinks. However, the wrist-band entrance policy for the awards limited the number of would-be attenders to the event.
Talking of the awards.. Jonathan Miles was a great host, easily rivaling Paul Gambacinni at the Sonys. It did get slightly awkward towards the middle, as the UK won all of the first 14 awards. Luckily, the rest of Europe did get a few gongs… at least, they would have done if the gongs weren’t stuck in a Spanish customs office!
As a final note, it’s hard to forget the incredibly energetic sprints to the stage displayed by Emap’s Mark Story or the touching speech by Station of the year Relax FM. A good time had by all!