Category Archives: Radio

Radio Trends & Issues on Modern Media Mix

We’re Back from Austin! — Our NAB Radio Report

Last week, six UNI Digital Media students and Professor Torre had a great time at the NAB Radio Show in Austin, Texas, where we heard from leaders in the radio industry, and even the FCC chairman. When not in conference sessions, we enjoyed spending time in downtown Austin, taking in the local culture of Tex-Mex food and live music.

NAB RadioWe attended sessions on a variety of topics and issues facing the radio industry today and going into the future. One of the sessions was titled The New Digital Remote, presented by Second Street Marketing, a company that creates digital content for radio stations.

Session panelists included Tucker Young and Tim Hall, senior sales and program directors at Bryan Broadcasting and Radio One respectively. Representing Second Street was Emily Thousand, and Affiliate Success manager.

Digital Media Leadership major Nick Langel attended this session and said, “What I found was most intriguing about this session was advertising digitally through online quizzes and using different formats of media. They discussed the idea of not using radio just as radio, but also as digital.”

NAB RadioSeveral students attended a session on Content Cross Training that covered taking radio from beyond on-air and into the digital space. Taylor Lien, a Digital Media Leadership and English major, attended this session and observed, “It was fascinating the way that an older form of media has found a way to bridge the gap between radio, which is a more traditional form of media, and social media in 2017.” She learned from the session that the radio industry is using social media as a way to extend an on-air personality’s branding beyond just what is on the air.

Growing Your Talent, Growing Your Revenue was a session presented by the radio industry trade group Mentoring Inspiring Women in Radio. The session focused on breaking the glass ceiling in radio, and the ways in which women are able to move into executive leadership positions. The panel was composed of a group of high-powered female executives in the radio industry who had a lot to say to young professionals.

Marielle Gaiser-Gonzalez a senior Digital Media Production student got a lot of inspiration for a future career in the industry, noting that, “The women on the panel have persuaded managers in their companies to have faith in their employees, and allow them to work at their capabilities without micromanaging.”

NAB Radio

“A lot of these women had a recurring theme: be bold!” Gaiser-Gonzalez said. “Riding the fine line between confident and cocky is a delicate balance, but with the right attitude and a fair mentality, breaking the convention and becoming an innovator is imperative for each new generation starting in the industry.”

One session, Communicating Across Generation, Gender and Culture dealt less with the radio industry directly, and more with public, and human relations that come with working in the business. Clara Tosi, a double major Digital Media Leadership and Production found this topic an unexpected choice.

“I found the inclusion of this topic to be thought-provoking, since I have studied about this throughout my education, and I wonder if this is something that people in the industry are just now starting to think about.” This Communicating Across… session explored the possibilities of radio station apps on devices on smart TVs, car connections, smart speakers, and many more.

NAB RadioChase Danielson, a Digital Media Production major attended a session titled, Apps: Beyond the Smartphone: “I was enthralled by this topic because I never really thought about how many smart devices are all around us, and how radio stations can get themselves onto many of them. Some people in the industry think that these smart devices are “killing radio” but some of these smart devices might actually be the key to saving radio, by bringing radio back into the home via smart televisions and smart speakers.”

Jaelyn Hogue, a senior Digital Media Production major had this to say about the Radio Show and other opportunities given to students. “I thought going to the NAB Radio show was a great opportunity to learn about different job experiences. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do after graduation, but now I have a better idea about my different options. In the sessions I learned that finding your dream job takes time and effort along with growth. I am ready to experience the radio industry for all it has to offer.”

Paul Torre, a professor in Digital Media Leadership, noted that, “the NAB Radio Show is one of many opportunities offered at the University of Northern Iowa, where students can learn about media industry best practices and network with professionals in a wide array of media fields.”

NAB Radio

We are all grateful to the Iowa Broadcasters Association for making this trip possible! Trips like these are a great opportunity for students to gain professional perspective before getting into the workplace. Watch here for a highlights video of our trip very soon!

-Taylor Lien and the 2017 Radio Show Team

We’re off to Austin for the NAB Radio Show!

The Digital Media Leadership program is sponsoring a group of University of Northern Iowa students, and we are heading to Austin, Texas to attend the NAB Radio Show this week!

NAB Radio ShowAs students, we have a unique perspective going in, since we are learning about an ever-evolving industry. Many of the seminars will pose a great opportunity to gain information on what’s happening in the media industry right now, as well as trends for the future.

The NAB radio show encourages “young professionals” to attend, and we are excited about a series of sessions geared towards how to start out, and how to continue to succeed in the industry.

NAB Radio ShowOne seminar is titled, “Whose Job is it Anyway?” and tackles the issues of skill gaps and hiring demands in a multimedia environment. The session features a panel of executives and sales managers that will provide valuable insight to those preparing to enter the digital media job market.

On the other side of the spectrum, seminars based on content or industry trends will bring real-world perspective to lessons learned in the classroom straight from the industry professionals that would know it best.

One that seems particularly intriguing is titled, “Content Cross Training,” and deals with the best ways for radio stations to bridge their brands and marketing into social media outlets as well as new media platforms. For a younger generation of prospective employees, the perspective of people who have worked in the industry, possibly for decades, provides a healthy contrast to our own everyday use of social media.

Beyond the seminars, the NAB Radio Show will also provide us with networking opportunities on the exhibitor floor and through the career fair. We will explore the exhibitor hall and will have an opportunity to see the newest and best technology that companies have to offer. This also will us will give us a behind-the-scenes peek at where the technology is headed, and what the industry may look like in the next few years.

We will also have the chance to network through the career fair, and interact one-on-one with possible employers from many areas of the media industry. This may lead to future job opportunities, or simply provide helpful insight into what media companies are looking for in their prospective employees.

We are ready and excited for all the experiences that we will have as a result of this trip, and it promises to be a good experience to expand on what we are learning in the classroom. After we return, look for our roundup of some of the highlights from our Austin adventure!

-Taylor Lien

End of Internship Report: Clara at 1650 The Fan

Time flies. These past two and a half months have gone by so fast. It seems like it was only yesterday that I received my first email from my new supervisor Bob Foster, director of 1650 The Fan, radio station at Cedar Valley Broadcasting, asking me if I could start my internship a few weeks early. Since then, I have been involved in (and in most cases, in charge of) the pre-production, production and post production of four videos. While four videos may not seem like a lot, each phase actually took about one week, meaning an average of three weeks per video.

You can see these videos and what else I’ve done through this internship on 1650 The Fan’s YouTube channel and on my web based portfolio.

During my internship, I learned many things. One thing that I learned fairly quickly is that radio isn’t dying. It is a common misconception that “No one listens to the radio” and I have to admit that I had this misconception before my internship. It is true that it’s not growing quickly, however there is still a loyal audience. Over the summer I saw active listeners of Bob Foster’s morning show “Foster on the Fan” recognize him with comments such as “I listen to you every morning man!”

Today’s loyal radio audience listens, “In their car on their way to work,” says Foster. Radio has shifted from being used by families in the home to a form of entertainment and/or information gathering tool in the car.

Clara Internship
Bob Foster greeting fans of his morning show at Sturgis Falls.

Being selfish is human nature. We all think at some point in our lives that the world revolves around us. A good way to catch someone’s attention when it comes to advertising is to personalize what you are saying. Most commercials are only about the company and service, but the real trick is to make it about them instead of you, then your audience will be even more interested. What can your product or service do for them? How can it benefit them? That is what potential clients really care about. Even simply using the word “you” or giving an implied order such as “get maximum sports” makes the listener feel more active and interested in what you have to tell them.

Plan ahead: Pre-production is important. That is something that of course as a digital media double major I already knew, but was greatly highlighted during my internship. My most challenging shoot was my first one, mostly from lack of planning and pre-production. For almost all my shoots, we had about a week of pre-production in which we went location scouting, created a storyboard, and discussed what the client (Cedar Valley Broadcasting) wanted and needed from each project. It’s not always about the what and how: the why is the most important. Why was I creating these videos?

I hadn’t realized before how much location scouting is very important and helpful. It’s even better if it can be done at least one day before the shoot, which gives you time to envision some of the shots. If you cannot go to the location prior to the shoot, ask for layout of the place from someone who has already been there. For my first shoot of the ISU Tailgate Tour, I asked Foster for a layout of the location and he drew me a map which was very helpful, especially considering I didn’t even know this was an inside shoot until the day before!


Clara Internship  Clara Internship

Bob Foster and I creating the storyboard for the Cedar Valley Broadcasting Promotion video.

Always have a plan B! If there’s anything my supervisor Bob Foster wanted me to leave having learned, it’s “always have a plan B!” This important tip within the media field has been told to me since day one. What if your tripod doesn’t work? What if your camera runs out of battery? Both of these things actually happened to me on the ISU Waterloo Tailgate Tour shoot. Luckily I had a plan B. For the tripod, I ended up using a tall table and stacked my camera in a stable position on top of its bag for the interviews. The rest were handheld shots. For the battery, I had brought an extra battery, and a battery charger, so I managed to find a plug and alternate between batteries. At our Sturgis Falls shoot, we had difficulties picking up the mic line audio. Our solution? Simply use plan B. This was a two-camera shoot, so we switched cameras and used the second camera to pick up the audio. Foster has also taught me that you can never be too safe and it is always a smart move to go even beyond and have a plan C, D and even E ready. Just in case.

 -Clara Tosi

End of Internship Report: Piper at NRG Media

As the summer is coming to a close, it is interesting to look back on all of my experiences and things I have learned from my internship at NRG Media in Waterloo, Iowa. I have learned everything from community engagement at events to imaging and producing promotions to be aired on the stations.

I would have to say the most important thing I learned about working at a media company is to go with the flow. The creative process is a messy one, and it takes multiple people, each working on their own tasks, to make promotions happen. A good media company, in my opinion, has a very laid back environment in which ideas can flourish, and NRG Media is a prime example of that.

Piper Internship

Having spent a lot of time outdoors with The Party Summer Concert Tour registering people for a chance to win tickets to see various artist, I learned some important lessons and tips.

  1. Sunscreen and water are always a good idea
  2. Rejection is something you get used to
  3. It’s not about what you are trying sell or promote, it’s how you act and present yourself to others

In addition to working with the stations on remote events, I also got to try my hand at the production side of the business. The most important lesson here is to always listen and trust your first instinct. The more you overthink, the worse it will be.

I feel like that goes for most media companies. The more something is analyzed over and over again to reach perfection, the more it slips in the other direction towards destruction.

Before I did this internship, I knew very little about how the radio business worked, but after interning with NRG Media I have a newfound appreciation for all the work that everyone does, not just the radio DJs. Above all, this internship has opened up a new world of possibilities and interests for me to pursue in the future.

-Piper Davis

End of Internship Report: Sam at Cumulus Media

Now that my internship has come to an end, I’ve been able to reflect and think back on all the things I’ve learned at Cumulus Media in Des Moines, Iowa.

I think the most valuable thing I learned was what it was like to work in a serious, professional environment. I’ve had jobs before and interned before as well, but I’ve never worked for a large, national company like Cumulus media. To me, it felt like I really was an adult with a real adult job.

That may sound silly, but I think this is a very important idea. Our experience of the workforce is very different as an adult than as a teenager. It was intimidating to think of what I may have to do once I graduated, as I didn’t feel that I had much to compare it too. Now I feel more comfortable with the idea of graduating and getting a job in my field. It feels like I know what to expect, and that is because I got to work in an environment that was in my field.

Sam InternshipAnother valuable experience I had was in gaining more media production skills. While I was very capable of doing audio work already, I was able to learn more skills and tricks to make production easier. I worked closely with their production people and they helped me a lot.

I had the chance to learn the ins and outs of the radio industry too. There are a lot of secrets I learned, but I obviously can’t spoil them because they are secrets. I can say that I thoroughly understand what “Traffic” means in the radio world. Traffic is basically everything that gets aired on the radio. They have a Traffic department that checks and sorts and decides when and where everything on the radio is broadcast. Working in Traffic takes an incredible amount of skill.

Sales is another area I learned quite a bit about. I think most people do not realize how important sales is in radio. Many people may just think of radio as music, but it really is more like an advertisement company with music sprinkled in. I got to watch and learn how the sales orders were processed and the way Cumulus creates a commercial from beginning to end.

If I had to impart any advice to anyone wanting to work for a media company, it would be to show up on time and listen. In my opinion, those are the biggest things Cumulus wanted. They wanted people who would show up when they were told and were willing to listen when given instructions. It sounds very basic, yet I think those are the best pieces of advice I can give.

-Sam King

End of Internship Report: Tom at NRG Media

Over the course of this summer I learned a vast amount of information and had many different experiences at NRG Media in Waterloo, Iowa. I was able to take advantage of many beyond-the-classroom opportunities and dive head first into the radio sector of the media industry and I am very grateful to the NRG staff.

I learned many lessons over the summer, and the first was about the radio broadcast industry itself. Before this summer I had a misconception of radio being far more one-dimensional than it really is. I discovered that every member of the NRG Media team needs to do so much on so many different levels of operations for the business to stay fresh and interesting.

Tom InternshipI saw an impressive number of avenues through which NRG was connecting with consumers and advertisers, at local and even international levels, through various digital and physical media. I took part in NRG connecting with audiences by utilizing facebook live, doing weekly podcasts, streaming and connecting internationally through station apps, putting up banners, driving around local communities, doing remotes, and connecting through phone. The way in which NRG is openly and eagerly embracing new ways for their business to connect on all levels is an exciting dynamic to be a part of.

I saw the way NRG Media operates in the digital media industry through adaptability and innovation in their regular business operations. I regularly saw the different stations at the Waterloo location of NRG not only discuss ideas and progress on a weekly basis, but I was also able to take part in many of those projects as well. Though I have discussed aspects of the digital media industry in a classroom setting, it was an incredible experience to see these ideas discussed in a professional setting.

I’m thankful for the opportunities I was able to pursue this summer at NRG Media, and I am excited to see the ways in which I will be able to take the industry knowledge into my professional life!

-Tom Randolph

Piper’s Summer Internship Report

I just started my Digital Media Leadership Internship at NRG Media in Waterloo a few weeks ago, and I am one of three UNI Digital Media students interning here. I absolutely love this work environment! For those of you who don’t know, NRG Media is the home of four radio stations: 107.3 The Party, 105.7 KOKZ, Rock 108, and News Talk 1540 KXEL.

InternshipThe Jocks, or radio DJs, are incredibly fun to be around and they are eager to teach the interns all about how their station operates. This is what I think is the best part about this internship—I’m not running meaningless errands, but I am learning about every element of this company.

So far I have gotten a chance to talk with the sales department, do some promotional work, and hang out with a few of the Jocks. Plans for the rest of the internship include sitting down one-on-one with people from each station and learning in-depth about it. If I find I am interested in one particular part of the company, I can spend more of my time as an intern there learning as much as possible.

But enough of the broad details. You may be asking yourself, “what would an intern at a radio station even do?” The answer: Everything!

InternshipMy schedule consists of a combination between office hours and outside promotional events, or remotes. During office hours, I get to design promotional pieces or talk with the jocks. During the remotes, I help set up the equipment and talk with the community as the event is going on. For instance, last week The Party was at various locations trying to get people to sign up to win Shawn Mendes tickets.

As interns, we handed out swag and talked to people to encourage them to sign up. I find the remotes to be extremely fun! The radio stations have a packed schedule this summer so if you see one of the vehicles come and say Hi! You can catch us at the Sturgis Falls Parade this coming weekend—Hope to see you there!


-Piper Davis

Sam’s Summer Internship Report

So far, so good! That’s how I would describe my Digital Media Leadership Internship at Cumulus Media this Summer. I didn’t know exactly what I would be doing this summer at Cumulus, and to be honest I still don’t know everything I’ll be doing. Every day is different and I love that. I have yet to be bored a single day at work because there’s always something new to learn or do!Internship

Thankfully, I have been able to learn more about audio production. That was my primary reason for doing this internship, as a radio station group is the perfect place to learn about audio production. An average day for me consists of spending the morning in the Production Office to learn about whatever my coworker is doing. He usually has a lot of work to do and can show me some interesting things I never knew about. I’m trying to get at least some kind of production lesson every morning and it’s working so far.

The rest of my morning varies pretty heavily. Sometimes I sit in on Promo meetings and learn about what the station is up to next. Other days, I might make some hooks for the station that they can use on air. I spent one day in the Traffic Office learning about how the stations schedule their commercials.

After the morning, I usually go to lunch. Sometimes I go home, since I live only five minutes away, but sometimes I get lunch with the other interns at Cumulus. I am one of ten interns at Cumulus, and though each of us have different interests, we have all grown to be friends. The other interns, as well as the employees, have really helped make my internship fun so far. I feel very fortunate to be interning at a place with such great people.


My afternoons are usually spent working on a podcast that another intern is developing. I hopped on the project as the producer of the podcast and I will have a chance to do voice work for it as well. This is what I am the most excited about! I’ve always wanted to do something like this and I really hope the podcast goes well. This is something I would continue to work on long after my internship is done. It’s also an awesome way to get experience and something great to have in my portfolio.

I usually get done at work mid-afternoon, but some days I end up doing work for them later in the evening. For example, every Wednesday there is an event that Cumulus promotes called the Zoobrew. It’s a fun event where people go to the zoo to enjoy live music and beer vendors. Last Zoobrew, I helped run this bag toss game that Cumulus had going. It was a fun way for folks to win concert tickets and other prizes.

My internship has gone pretty well so far. I’ve been enjoying it, especially given the variations in my daily tasks. I don’t need work to be consistent every day and I’m having fun and learning a lot!

-Sam King