Radio is Alive and Booming in the Cedar Valley

Radio broadcasting has been rumored to be dying due to the emergence of satellite and Internet radio that can be personalized to listeners’ musical preferences. I thought this was true as well, but then I saw the statistics: radio reaches 90 percent of people each week, and 66 percent each day. There are 13,500 radio stations sprinkled throughout the U.S. that cover over 40 different formats. The top formats in radio today are country, news/talk, and pop/contemporary hit radio. At Cedar Valley Broadcasting we cover all of those formats and more.

Ali 1I am an intern at Cedar Valley Broadcasting in Cedar Falls, Iowa. It is a family owned radio company, with eleven stations in Iowa. Three of the eleven stations are produced in Cedar Falls: KCVM 93.5 The Mix, KCNZ 1650 The Fan, and Cruisin’ KCFI 1250 and 105.1.

The first station I mentioned, 93.5 The Mix, is an adult contemporary station with a primary audience of women ages 25-54 years. 93.5 The Mix has also been recognized for multiple prestigious accolades. The station was presented with the Crystal Award four times and was also recognized as a small market finalist for the Marconi Award in 2013. The next station, 1650 The Fan is a male-skewing station, reaching out to men, ages 25-54. The Fan is our sports station and generally reaches out to those with higher incomes. The third station is Cruisin’ KCFI, a unique station that is the only station that plays a true oldies format in the market. A really neat program our station has to offer is the non-profit organization Magical Mix Kids, which was created to send chronically and terminally ill children and their families on a worry-free vacation to Walt Disney World. Between the three stations, there is something for everyone to enjoy, as Cedar Valley Broadcasting really has a wide variety of content to offer to its listeners.

Ali 2As an intern at Cedar Valley Broadcasting, I have been given to opportunity to see behind a lot of the doors in the building. From observing the sales and promotions team to copywriting commercials to learning how to record radio shows, I have been exposed to many of the departments that allow these radio stations to run so smoothly. I was given the opportunity to help out the sales and promotions team by researching prospects that could be potential clients, and then going out into the field to speak with some of the business owners to try and set up a more formal appointment with them. I also learned to use the Radio Advertising Bureau website for other information when working on advertising pieces. I have also done some copywriting as well as voicing some of those commercials. I worked on designing the visual layout of packages for sponsors of “Teacher of the Month” and “The Magical Mix Kids Snowflake Express”.

In addition to all of the in-station activities that I have done, I also was able to hang out at the My Waterloo Days and Sturgis Falls festivals at the station booth, handing out freebies to the passers-by. At the end of August, I will work the Summer Jam event, which I am especially excited for! I really enjoy the broad variety of activities I have experienced in order to help myself obtain an idea of what I may want to do as a future career.

All in all, working at a radio station is not what I pictured myself doing this summer, but after being involved in the internship and being able to work with all of the great staff at the station, I can honestly say it was a spontaneous choice I am very happy to have made. I am learning more and more every day, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of my time at Cedar Valley Broadcasting has in store for me.

Ali Holtz

My Cool Internship with Cumulus Media in Des Moines

The radio industry is changing and continues to grow. Radio is a great form of mass media because it is easily accessible and free (so long as you have a device for listening to the radio). A large percentage of Americans commute for many reasons, and that is a popular time when they listen to radio. Because of its ability to reach large audiences—including younger audiences—radio is a great medium for marketing goods and services. The largest American broadcast company is iHeartMedia, while the second largest is Cumulus Media who owns around 460 stations in 89 markets. I have had the opportunity to intern at a Cumulus Media location in Urbandale, Iowa.

Radio internship - iheart mediaThe Cumulus Media location I am interning with has 5 stations; two country stations (92.5 Nash Icon and 97.3 Nash FM), one classic rock station (95 KGGO), one talk station (98.3 The Torch), and one sports station (1700 The Champ). Cumulus Media is Des Moines’ leader in country and classic rock music, so they place most of their focus on planning promotions for those three stations. In fact, every one of the activities or jobs I do at Cumulus Media was centered on those three stations.

At Cumulus Media I am a marketing and promotions intern with many responsibilities. When I first started my internship I thought that I would mainly be organizing promotions and brainstorming marketing ideas, but my responsibilities actually took a different path after I talked to my supervisor, Liz, about my passion for digital media production. After she learned this, she set me up to work with Tony, one of Cumulus Media’s DJs and lead producer, for a day. I started learning how to use Adobe Audition, which was their choice of audio editing software, to produce the commercials that I would write scripts for. I even voiced around half of the commercials that I wrote scripts for, so I was pretty busy with both the production and marketing side of digital media. After producing these commercials, we would go to the clients and show them what their commercial could sound like and then they would tell us what they liked and did not like so that we could revise the commercial.

Kyle 1Along with being a producer for Cumulus Media, I am also a videographer and photographer who takes videos/pictures of the different events we have a presence at. When I am not at the station producing content for clients, I am out setting up for different events and interacting with the public. One of my favorite events that I attended was the drawing of a promotion that Cumulus Media came up with early in the summer called “Free Gas For Me.” One lucky person won free gas for a year from Kum & Go, and it was a blast setting up for that event and interacting with our listeners at Valley West Mall in West Des Moines.

Kyle 3

My internship at Cumulus Media has been truly an amazing experience. From working with and learning from intelligent people, to taking on challenging tasks by myself, it has all helped me learn more about the industry that I plan on starting a career in.

Kyle Stoutenberg


Drones were definitely one of the most awe inspiring and emerging devices at the 2015 National Association of Broadcasters Show. This is not only due to their hi-tech robotics, but also because of the way they are already impacting broadcasting and many other sectors of the media industry.

Just a few months ago we observed the impact drones can have on live television. This past winter during X-Games 2015, the United States witnessed the first live aerial drone broadcast in sports history. It provided a never-before-seen perspective into the world of action sports.

Camera DroneWe interviewed Sergei Lupashin, founder and CEO of Perspective Robotics, at the 2015 NAB Show about the groundbreaking impact that drones will have on the media industry within the next few years.

“To me it is always interesting…the new and exciting ways that people are able to use this technology to capture new perspectives. You really don’t know where it’s going, so you can really be a part of that story of shaping the future.”

From tethered hybrid drones to 4K capable GPS enabled drones, these high-flying devices are reshaping the ways video is captured and distributed!

Spencer Hemann

FCC’s Wheeler Pitches Spectrum Auction to Broadcasters: But Should They Cash In?

Chairman Tom Wheeler opened his keynote address to the 2015 National Association of Broadcasters with nothing but praise and admiration for their profession, stating that they (broadcasters) offer their audiences a unique product that no other current emerging platform can give: local news and information.

Tom WheelerWheeler went on to describe his recent experience with various media outlets during the storms that rocked the north east this winter. “I used my weather channel app on my phone regularly,” Wheeler admitted. “But when I wanted information that really matters, when I wanted to find out what the real skinny was that was going to affect my life, I went to my local broadcasters.” He then closed his opening remarks of praise by pointing how the broadcasters “put themselves in danger” to service their community in the midst of the storm.

This was a lead in to his quick pitch at the NAB Show for the upcoming spectrum auction. In this spectrum auction, the FCC would sell licenses to transmit signals over specific bands of the electromagnetic spectrum to wireless providers, and then share the profits with broadcasters who are the current holders of the spectrum.

But new details regarding the forthcoming spectrum auction were surprisingly thin. Wheeler mentioned it will take place in early 2016, with the FCC accepting applications as early as this fall, and that they want to make it “more accommodating” for broadcasters.

SmartphoneWhat struck me as both odd and alarming was the absence of constructive criticism directed towards the traditional methods of broadcasting (both in Wheeler’s speech and throughout the entire show). Now, this isn’t to say there weren’t talks regarding the changing media landscape, but the topic of the potential industry-saving innovation from broadcasters (particularly television) were sparse. And, whatever discussion there was regarding the issues presented an array of underwhelming, short-term solutions.

There is no denying the truth that, as Chairman Wheeler pointed out, OTT services are beating out cable, and that consumers are pursuing alternatives to broadcast TV. But the question constantly on my mind is: how can broadcasters remain relevant well into the 21st century? And perhaps more important for broadcasters to explore, what role, if any, could this currently owned spectrum play in their reinvention?

Trends in media consumption changed radically last year, with digital viewing increasing at an impressive rate. According to a 2014 Nielsen report,  growth for digital viewing rose 53% for individuals ages 18 to 43 over the past year. In fact, this high growth of digital viewing is even more pronounced for older demographics with an 85.7% rise in 35 to 49 year olds and a 72.7% rise in 50 to 60 year olds. TV, on the other hand, saw a 4.2% average drop in adult screen use during the past year.

It is true this buyout of spectrum will potentially serve as a life preserver for a struggling broadcast station. But it also could, in my opinion, prematurely rule out any further advancement that may have otherwise utilized that spectrum (potential 4k and 3D capabilities being one).

As Wheeler described it, the spectrum auction is “a once in a lifetime, risk free opportunity to expand your business model on someone else’s dime.” But what if that business model requires that same spectrum to advance forward? To prematurely classify the auction as a “once in a lifetime opportunity” that would leave our wireless future in the fate of one obscure auction with a commodity is so abstract and unpredictable, should come across as frightening to broadcasters. It’s just too early to call.

TV wastelandIt is true this is not for me to decide. It’s for the each owner of spectrum to decide, given their unique circumstances. As a consumer and an academic observer I am highly interested in seeing potential expansion of broadcasting well beyond its conventional boundaries. I just hope that broadcasters retain an open mind in regards to the possibilities of “broadcasting” in the future, whatever that may look like. They need to find the courage to innovate, or they may perish.

Aaron Sprengeler

Low Budget, Pro Look: How to make your Media Look Professional

How can I spend a little, but get a lot?

That is the question for thousands of filmmakers at the 2015 National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas. And it is an ongoing question for college students and young filmmakers across the country.

While we saw plenty of professional grade cameras and equipment from companies like RED and ARRI, we took a deeper look into what “prosumer” technology has to offer.

CameraBrand new equipment at the Show this year included Canon’s XC10, a small professional grade camera that is similar to the Panasonic Lumix GH4 and the Sony A7s. All of these cameras are under $2500 and will shoot in stunning 4K resolution.

By creating simpler, less expensive cameras these businesses open their target audience up to a new and younger market. These cameras also work with professional editing software such as Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premiere Pro, and Avid.

Another big topic in the film and videography world this year was the proliferation of drones. Aerial technology is sweeping the country, making it easy and relatively cheap to attach a lightweight camera, such as a GoPro, and send it into the sky for a perfect high-in-the-sky shot.

So how do you make a low budget movie look professional?

With affordable equipment and creativity, anything is possible. By going the extra mile, by putting in the time, and by obtaining the necessary resources, you can slowly gain experience and work your way up the ladder.

-Austin Hansen


Radio | Pro Audio: Professional Technology Available to Everyone

As the General Manager of a tiny Midwestern college radio station, stepping foot inside the “Radio | Pro Audio” display area at the National Association of Broadcasters Show was like a kid getting into a multi-million dollar candy store. With a wealth of audio consoles, microphones, automation technology and more, I could not get enough of what the audio world had to offer.

First of all, the technology was newer than new. 94.5 KULT, the University of Northern Iowa’s student radio station that I am a part of, was fortunate enough to get their hands on some new tech devices that we desperately needed. However, the shiny toys that I played with at the show were far beyond a lot of the radio stations I have toured in Iowa, let alone itty-bitty KULT.

The first booth I visited was the high-end audio technology called Wheatstone, and it was by far the most intriguing and expensive radio-only booth I experienced. As soon as I entered the carpeted area in the middle of the Audio floor I was offered a quick tour and a seemingly unlimited amount of information about products in a college station’s price range.


I wanted to check out the Wheatstone booth because I was familiar with the brand. I had the privilege of exploring Iowa Public Radio’s studio on UNI’s campus, and they had new Wheatstone audio consoles in almost every production room and live booth. They were beautiful. Experiencing the sleek, professional look and impeccable audio quality of the units was quite a treat.

My next stop was to examine state-of-the-art microphones at the Sony and Solid State Logic booths. In both of places, I met professionals and students that I either knew, or were following the nearly identical career path I was focusing on. Solid State Logic’s CEO and creator is Piers Plaskitt, a seasoned technology pro with amazing equipment to offer. Not only does his daughter attend UNI, but he has been based in the Des Moines area for quite sometime. And although I thoroughly enjoyed surrounding myself with industry professionals and the movers and shakers of the media world, it was a breath of fresh air to meet someone located so close to home. It was really surprising to meet and greet several audio professionals from Iowa. They came to the Show for the same reasons our group did: to soak up as much information as possible and to network. But they are also leaps and bounds ahead of us students, and to gather insight from them was an even more satisfying win.

Radio BoardIn the gigantic, dimly lit Sony area (calling it a “booth” does not do it justice), I took a gander at some of Sony’s audio equipment that would exponentially improve KULT’s sound and style. While there, I met a fellow student from the University of Texas who was involved in her student radio station back home. We were both going for an internship at National Public Radio, truly a dream internship for college media and journalism students. We swapped stories of our favorite Ira Glass moments (the NPR host of “This American Life”) and compared our two student-run radio outlets.

If I needed another reason to validate the statement that “Radio is far from dead,” I had it. The millions of dollars of audio equipment and radio technology that I experienced was that strong reason. The radio industry not only has confident and visionary leaders at the wheel, but radio also has beautiful and powerful technology, some of the best that companies had to offer at this year’s NAB Show.

- Brendan Wood

Strategies for Success in Radio Sales

Gerry Tabio is a renowned media consultant, and founder and President of Creative Resources, a company he has operated for more than 25 years. At the 2015 National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas, Tabio hosted a session titled, “7 Ways to Leverage Clients Needs Analysis for Radio Success.”

Gerry TabioTabio began his speech, by joking that he has “been around the media industry since the dinosaurs roamed Earth,” and that he has spent the last 30 years of his career working with salespeople and sales managers, primarily in radio. Tabio maintains a phenomenal stage presence, and it was clear to me that this man knew his stuff.

Early in his forty-minute opus Tabio hyped a best-selling publication from the Harvard Business Review, originally published in 1960, titled ‘Marketing Myopia’ by Theodore Levitt. Tabio gushed to the audience that Levitt’s grasp of marketing was timeless, and his ideas were very much relevant today.

“Earlier, someone asked, is the customer needs analysis changing? Yeah. The customer needs analysis has to change…The fundamental question here is, if we’re going to talk about the customer needs analysis, why are we doing one? To solve a problem and make a sale.”

The reason I attended Tabio’s session was to improve my craft of CNA’s, and to pick up any other useful marketing or sales tips. But Tabio also talked about the evils of programmatic advertising.

“People can buy your station without talking to You. And that’s becoming increasingly clear. As a matter of fact, we just got a double-barrelled announcement — right? Programmatic has arrived in radio. In a very big way! So here’s the thing; people don’t have to talk to you to buy a schedule on your station. As a matter of fact, it will be like Amazon. You will be doing business with Amazon — trust me. Amazon will be one of the owners of the programmatic companies. And your inventory will be for sale on Amazon. And you know what guys? I buy a lot of stuff from Amazon, and I don’t remember the last time I did a needs analysis with an Amazon representative.”

If that block of quote from Tabio isn’t a microphone drop in the world of radio sales presentations, then I don’t know left from right.

Tabio also denounced the relevance of doing a CNA at all given programmatic’s emergence:

“Imagine I get a call from Amazon and they want to do a needs analysis on my music tastes. I’d go, I’m good… They’re eclectic. Two days ago I bought rap, last night I bought some Sinatra. And you know what, I just go to (the mall/iTunes) and I buy it. I don’t need to talk to you.”

Finally, Tabio explained himself plainly:

“If a client can buy a schedule without talking to one of your people, then, what’s the purpose of a needs analysis?”

Interestingly enough, what happened after all this bashing of CNA’s was a thoughtful approach to CNA’s—they are about selling, and growing with clients.

“The purpose of your business is to create, and keep, customers. And to do that, you have to do things that make people WANT to do business with you. And my favorite part, the one that brought me to a screeching halt is, all other truths on this subject are derivative. You ask me a question, you tell me about your organization, whatever it is that we’re going to talk about, brings you back to those two truths. And I’m going to take a big risk here, because I have my own point of view, and I’m just going to change one word. I’m going to have the arrogance to change Theodore Levitt’s words, because there’s a word that’s very important to me. Look at the word KEEP. I think it’s the purpose of a business to create and GROW (not keep) a customer. And to do that, you have to make sure that you are doing things that are going to make those clients want to do business with you. Be eager to do business with you.”

Funny thing is, there was not a whole lot (if any) explanation as to what thing(s) can be done to cultivate a relationship with a sales prospect that provokes that ‘want’ to do business with you, the salesperson. The blame for this does not lie entirely on Tabio, however. This 45-minute session it was one of the shortest at the NAB Show. But why? I bet I speak for everyone in the room when I say I wanted—more importantly, needed—another 45 minutes of Tabio.

QUOTES (Other notable Gerry Tabio quotes)

“Sometimes you do not get access to a client because you act like a vendor. You’ve got to act like you’re part of their company.”
“You’re constantly thinking about opportunities they have, and you go to their locations, and you see what they’re doing, you read their websites, and subscribe to a google alert about their company.”


Cole Bair

My Top Five Experiences at the NAB Show

Each year a convention is held for the National Association of Broadcasters to showcase their ideas and newest gadgets. I had the amazing opportunity of attending the NAB Show in Las Vegas this year from April 12-15, 2015 with a department professor and ten other peers within the Media Leadership major at the University of Northern Iowa. My expectations were greatly surpassed in all aspects, from the amazing tech tools and equipment displayed to the informative sessions we attended each day to learn all we could about the growing industry.

When walking into any of the four HUGE halls of the convention center, I wasn’t sure exactly what to do first or where to start my journey at the NAB Show. But after jumping into a few informative and entertaining sessions and visiting multiple exhibits and booths, I found out pretty quickly that there is truth behind the saying “time flies when you are having fun!” Here’s a look at my top five experiences at the NAB Show 2015!

5) Experiencing the Canon 4K Theatre

Canon used their 4K theatre to show NAB goers the newest technology in cameras and what it looks like on the big screen. Canon is soon releasing their newest gadget with 4K technology in the form of their professional-use 4K video camcorder, the XF-AVC. This new camera allows for more compact storage of video files, and works across various stages of the production process, from shooting to editing. It was really neat to see what progress is being made in the industry and what we can look forward to as developments continue to happen.

4) Meeting Adam Epstein, the “Saturday Night Live” Editor

adam epsteinWe sat in a session with Adam where he gave us the crazy details on the short film process with the Saturday Night Live crew. He discussed how working on a project that takes a year or two to finish compares to working on the weekly short films created in only 4-5 days for the SNL show each Saturday Night. For example, you might have a few weeks to take dozens of different shots with different angles and make the decision on which shot to go with, whereas with an SNL short film he may only have a few minutes to take all the shots they can and later in editing have a few more minutes to make the decision on which of the five shots to go with. When working at such a fast pace, like he does with the SNL short film crew, there isn’t much time for making decisions and wavering between “yes” and “no,” so he believes when working with such tight deadlines you have to learn how to go with your gut and keep on your toes.

3) Seeing Documentarian Morgan Spurlock

After seeing the movie Super Size Me, I was intrigued to hear from the man responsible for the film. He discussed how success sprouted from this simple documentary film, leading to his two documentary series “The 30 Day Challenge” and “Inside Man”. I also learned how he uses unique marketing tactics to advertise companies that may not otherwise be related to the video. For example, GE sponsored a Focus Forward Short Film Documentary about two women who have created a bike helmet that deploys when impact is detected. I was also very impressed with all of the additional documentaries he has been working on since, such as The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, and I’m anxious to check out more of them!

2) Attending the “Women in New Media” Panel

I had the privilege of listening to an accomplished panel of women talk about how they reached their success. Jenn Page (filmmaker and founder of production company Luminave Films), Jenna Edwards (independent writer, producer, and owner of “Create with Jenna” website), Kristen Nedopak (host of Geek Awards, actress, screenwriter, producer, director), and Sandra Payne (director, screenwriter, and producer at SPwrite Productions, LLC), answered questions regarding women’s roles in new media categories, such as podcasting, filmmaking, blogging, and documenting. Women are naturally social beings and we have our own stories and perspectives that we believe should be shared to the world, and therefore we have a lot to offer in the form of video and audio output mediums. These women shared stories that were both were inspiring and encouraging, not only to me as a woman, but also as an aspiring independent media producer.

1) GoPro

I had heard about GoPro cameras before attending the NAB Show, but knew them only as small cameras for attaching to a helmet to capture sporty videos. But I learned GoPro has so much more than that! With all of the supplementary add-ons and neat features and tricks you can use the Hero4 to capture just the right shot. They showed a neat compilation video on how the camera can be used underwater, attached to a helmet or your wrist, and even use the time lapse or slow motion features to customize your video. After exploring the exhibit and seeing the amazing quality of video and photos this little guy captures, I was hooked, and now I have to have one!

Of course this wasn’t all that I saw on the trip, but these are the highlights of my reel. It seemed like there wasn’t enough time in my three days at the convention to see all that there was to see. But we certainly made the most of our trip!

Ali Holtz