KQV AM 1410

KQV Editorial

Selling Pittsburgh – The No-Glitz City!

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     When it comes to irony, nothing could be more ironic than what’s happening with the convention business in Pittsburgh.  For all these years people running the Pittsburgh Convention Center and now – Visit Pittsburgh – have been trying to sell Pittsburgh as a convention site, in part on the basis of past publicity – that Pittsburgh is the country’s most livable city – and Pittsburgh is one of the country’s friendliest cities.


     Of course, over the years, Pittsburgh has been competing with Las Vegas, Atlantic City, New York, Chicago and other high powered cities in trying to attract convention business.  While all of us agree that Pittsburgh is a wonderful city, we’ve never been known as the glamour capital of the country…or the city where glitz abounds.


     Now, strangely enough, our apparent lack of glamour has begun to work in our favor when it comes to the convention business.  With the country being faced with economic chaos and suspicion being leveled at companies suspected of being greedy and good-time Charlies, Pittsburgh has suddenly come into favor because we are classified as a blue-collar city.


     Currently, having a convention in Las Vegas or New York might be considered ostentatious and highly suspect for wasteful spending while having a convention in Pittsburgh is considered down-to-earth without the frills and fancy stuff.  As such, it’s now a major selling point for our convention people.


     For years, people have loved going to Las Vegas because of its exotic setting and exciting things to do.  In fact, attending the convention’s events, in some cases, became secondary.  On top of that, expenses were often paid by the attendee’s employer or the association sponsoring the convention.  In any case, it’s often a tax write-off.


     However, with the current economic crisis, criticism has been leveled at companies and organizations for spending too much money on luxury junkets and conventions.  In addition to the glamour cities some convention bookers have loved to head for resorts in California, Arizona and Florida.  That’s why, in the convention business it’s been jokingly stated that very few are ever booked for Peoria, Illinois.


     But now, with money tight, convention bookers can’t be criticized for coming to Pittsburgh.  We are the exact opposite of Las Vegas and Atlantic City…Although we might be taking on a new personality with our upcoming gambling casino.

     So with economic conditions the way they are and companies super sensitive to wasteful spending, it ,ay be “Goodbye Las Vegas” and “Hello Pittsburgh”!


     And, who knows, our “white elephant” money losing convention center may, miraculously be metamorphosed into a “cash cow”!


Robert W. Dickey


KQV Newsradio
April 3, 4, 5, 2009


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