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  • Writer's pictureDrake Donovan

My Conclave 41 Experience

Fresh from Conclave 41 and my voice is still scratchy, my feet still aching, and my brain still trying to absorb all of the experiences I had at this year’s summer learning conference. In my eight years of attending this event, this was one of the most positive and optimistic crowds I’ve witnessed in a long time.

My first Conclave was considered by many long time ‘Clavers to be one of the poorest attended and signaled the death of this long-time event in the Twin Cities, moving from downtown Minneapolis to a suburban Sheraton hotel. There were many attendees who had been recently “riffed” and looking for work a “free agents”. The overall mood was doom and gloom. But for me, a first time visitor and presenter on a panel, it was a miracle to be surrounded by all of these passionate and like-minded radio people.

Over the next several years the Conclave began to evolve, much as the medium itself has, from the multi-day, multi-track event that it used to be, to a more concise, dare I say, more PPM-Friendly, day-and-a-half version that it is today.

The experience at Conclave 41 reflects the efforts we as the board of directors have made to ensure that this event grants access to some big names in our industry and provides relevant and powerful takeaways for its attendees. The passion and energy at the Crowne Plaza was palpable from every level of our industry. From CEOs & SVPs like Ginny Morris, Erica Farber, Dan Mason, Mike McVay, Jim Ryan and Tony Coles to part-timers and students, like Greg Cypin, Max Kachinske, Megan Stolarz and 2016 Conclave Scholarship winner, Mikaela Mummert, the energy and enthusiasm was overwhelming and very, very inspiring.

This was my third Conclave serving as a member of its board of directors. I’m so proud of the work we have done to turn this event around from the brink of extinction. I want to thank Lori Lewis, Tom Kay, Phil Strider, Bob Goff, George Woods, Nancy Kaywood, Steve Mills, Dan Spears, Jay Philpott, Mark Bolke and Alyssa Page for their efforts and support. I look forward to what we can build off of as we prepare to bring Conclave 42 to the industry in 2017.

Now I’m off to edit the hours of video shot by me and Radio’s Best Friend, Art Vuolo. Please check the Conclave website ( and our Facebook page over the coming weeks as we show the world what happens at a Conclave Summer Learning Conference.

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