NAB conforms with The Associated Press Stylebook. The AP Stylebook is accessible online at If you have any questions, please contact the Marketing department.

NAB Written Style

Specific Style Formatting by Category

a.m. (ante meridian), p.m. (post meridian)
Lowercase with periods.

Short for application, a program that runs inside another service. Smartphones allow applications to be downloaded to expand their functions. (App is acceptable on second reference.)

Ampersand (&)
Do not use unless part of an official title. Should never be used in place of “and.”

Lowercase when it stands alone. Example: The association will meet at the spring convention.

Follow AP style with the name, title/company, said or title/company, name said. Example: “We are encouraging every station in America to run these public service announcements,” NAB President and CEO Gordon H. Smith said.

Capitalize the formal name, NAB Board of Directors. Lowercase when using board on second reference. Examples: The NAB Board of Directors met in June. The board decided to give all NAB staff members a 4 percent raise.

Book titles
Use quotation marks.

An essential clause must not be set off from the rest of a sentence by commas. A nonessential clause must be set off by commas. Example: Reporters who do not read the stylebooks should not criticize their editors. The writer is saying that only one class of reporters, those who do not read the stylebook, should not criticize their editors. If the “who… stylebook” phrase were deleted, the meaning of the sentence would be changed substantially. It would then mean that all reporters should not criticize their editors.

Use a comma if the subject of each clause in a sentence is expressly stated, but no comma when the subject of the two clauses is the same and not repeated in the second. Examples: We visited Washington, and we met with our senator. We visited Washington and met with our senator.

Do not use a comma between the last two items in a series unless needed for clarity.

Use a comma to introduce a complete one-sentence quotation within a paragraph. Example: Wallace said, “She spent six months in Europe and came back speaking French.”

Use a comma instead of a period at the end of a quote that is followed by an attribution. Example: “Don’t talk to strangers,” Mr. Black said.

Do not use a comma, however, if the quoted statement ends with a question mark or exclamation point. Example: “Why should I?” he asked. Also see AP Style.

Place a comma before and after the following when they appear in the middle of a sentence:

  1. A year, if it follows a month and date. Example: I was born on November 6, 1958, in Madison, Wis.
  2. A state, if it follows a city or county name. Example: I was born in Madison, Wis., on November 6, 1958.

Composition titles
Apply the guidelines listed here to book titles, computer game titles, movie titles, opera titles, play titles, poem titles, album and song titles, radio and television program titles, and the titles of lectures, speeches and works of art:

Capitalize the principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters.

Capitalize an article – the, a, an – or words of fewer than four letters if it is the first or last word in a title.

Put quotation marks around the names of all such works except the Bible and books that are primarily catalogs of reference material. In addition to catalogs, this category includes almanacs, directories, dictionaries, encyclopedias, gazetteers, handbooks and similar publications. Do not use quotation marks around such software titles as Excel or InDesign.

Italicize proper newspaper and magazine titles.

Translate a foreign title into English unless a work is known to the American public by its foreign name.

Examples: “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,” “Gone With the Wind,” “Of Mice and Men,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “Time After Time,” the NBC-TV “Today” program, the “CBS Evening News,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

Reference works: Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft; Encyclopaedia Britannica; Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, Second Edition.

Foreign works: Rousseau’s “War,” not Rousseau’s “La Guerre.” But: Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa,” Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” and “The Magic Flute.” But: “Die Walkuere” and “Gotterdammerung” from Wagner’s “The Ring of the Nibelungen.”

Capitalize U.S. Congress and Congress when referring to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Although Congress sometimes is used as a substitute for the House, it is properly reserved for reference to both the Senate and House.

Use congressional lowercase unless part of a proper name. Example: the Congressional Quarterly.

Use lowercase members when saying members of Congress.

Use Congress’ for possessive form.

Lowercase plural uses. Example: the Virginia and North Carolina senates. Lowercase references to non-governmental bodies. Example: the student senate at Yale.

Congress, Members of
As the salutation in a letter, spell out Representative and Senator for titles of members of Congress. Example: Dear Senator Landrieu:

For abbreviations, use Rep., Reps., Sen. and Sens. as formal titles in regular text.

A member of Congress’ name should be followed by his or her state and congressional district, except when sending correspondence to the Hill. A senator’s name will be followed by only his or her state. Example: Rep. John Dingell (MI-15), Sen. Daniel Akaka (HI). For congressional citations, NAB prefers the postal abbreviations such as (VA-06).

Do not capitalize "member" when writing "member of Congress."

Court cases
Italicize. Use v., not vs. Example: NAB v. ATT

Always use numbers without st, nd, rd or th. Examples: January 30, 2007, is the date the report is due. Does January 6 work for lunch?

Local station designated market area. Also see entry for markets of local stations.

Lowercase and no capital E unless at sentence start. No hyphen.

In general, use hyphens in combinations that modify something. Example: full-time job.

Do not use hyphens when used as a noun. Example: The job is full time. Never hyphenate words with the adverb very or any adverbs that end in -ly.

But when a modifier that would be hyphenated before a noun occurs after a form of the verb to be the hyphen usually must be retained to avoid confusion. Example: The man is well-known. The woman is quick-witted. The play is second-rate.

Lowercase unless the word begins a sentence.

Markets of local stations
Always refer to a station as being in the major city located within its DMA, which is not always its mailing address. Example: WCVB-TV is in Boston, not Needham, Mass.

For microphone. Do not use mike.

NAB Events and Programs
NABPAC: NAB Political Action Committee (there is no space between “NAB” and “PAC”); NAB Show (for more information please consult the Show Style Guide); the Radio Show

Names/titles individuals
Capitalize titles when used immediately before one or more names. Example: NAB President and CEO Gordon H. Smith.

Do not capitalize formal titles when they are used immediately following a name or offset by commas. Example: John Brown, vice president of communications. Be consistent with the format used throughout the document.

Do not place a comma before Jr. or Sr. in a name; however, if a person prefers the use of the comma, then you may use it. The same applies to placing a comma before Inc. or Ltd. in a company name. Examples: John J. Henry Sr.; Cost Cutters Inc.

Use the word chair, not chairman, when referring to committee chairs, as it is gender-neutral. For the same reason, use representative, not congressman, when referring to members of Congress.

Next Generation TV
To be used when talking about the ATSC 3.0 standard technology. Next Gen TV acceptable on second reference. Example: Broadcasters are excited about unleashing the possibilities of Next Generation TV.

To be used when describing Next Generation TV-enabled consumer products. Example: Consumers should look for NEXTGEN TV sets that can deliver new services from broadcasters, including enhanced emergency information.

National Association of Broadcasters (NAB)
Write out on first reference with the abbreviation in parentheses. Use NAB on second and subsequent references. The same applies to the education foundation. When using “NAB” in a sentence, do not use “the” before it. Example: He works at NAB.

Any number up to the value of 10 must be spelled out. Example: 10 little Indians, five tiny cowboys.

Use the % sign when paired with a numeral, with no space, in most cases. Examples: Average hourly pay rose 3.1% from a year ago; her mortgage rate is 4.75%; about 60% of Americans agreed; he won 56.2% of the vote. Use figures: 1%, 4 percentage points.

Phone numbers
Phone numbers in a list should use the following format: 703 683 4300 Ext 000. Use spaces, not periods.

The exception is in running copy, in which case use this format: (703) 683-4300.

Use Q-and-A within the body of a story and not Q&A. Example: There will be a Q-and-A session with the audience after his remarks.

Quotation marks and punctuation
All punctuation used along with quotation marks resides within the quotation marks, with the exception of a colon or semicolon.

Radio or television station call letters
Local station call letters and band should be followed by their city/state without a comma in between. Do not use Buzz 109.9, Newstalk Radio or NBC4, but rather actual call letters when identifying a station.

If the TV station ends in TV, as in WXTV, do not repeat the TV. Example: WTOP-AM Washington, D.C. or KTLA-TV Los Angeles, Calif., but WXTV Omaha, Neb.

Always spell out state names within a document when they stand alone. Example: Missouri — not MO.

When states are used in copy in conjunction with a city, you may use the AP style abbreviation.

When referring to Washington, D.C., in running copy, always place a period after D and C. Use lowercase in all “state of” constructions. Example: the state of Maine.

For a full listing of state abbreviations, refer to the abbreviations page.


Use figures except for noon and midnight. Use a colon to separate hours from minutes. If there are no minutes, use hour only. Example: 11 a.m. not 11:00 a.m. In referring to ranges, put a space before and after the en dash. Example: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m., not 9 a.m.–10 p.m.

If in the same time frame only, use one a.m. or p.m. Example: The session lasts from 9 –10 a.m.

Write out a website’s URL in lowercase letters, unless the URL forms more than one word. Also, lowercase URLs that are acronyms. Do not use “www.” Examples:;

Web and website
In web and website, the “w” is lowercase. Website is written as one word. Example: The NAB website received more than 2 million hits since 2002.

When using the terms webcast, webcam or webmaster, they are not capitalized and are one word.

Web address
Web addresses and URLs should not be italicized in text.