Category Archives: Radio

Radio Trends & Issues on Modern Media Mix

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

Clara’s Summer Internship Report

“You’re in kid.” Those are the words that started it all. Those words ended my interview, and I began my Digital Media Leadership Internship a few weeks ago. I am a fourth-year UNI student currently double majoring in Digital Media Leadership and Digital Media Production with an International Business minor. This summer I am interning at Cedar Valley Broadcasting’s radio station 1650 The Fan!

Internship  What is 1650 The Fan? It is more than simply a sports radio station. As my supervisor, would say, it is “The Official Station for Cyclone Nation”. It is also home to the Chicago Cubs as well as many other sport teams. You can tune in every weekday 6-8am to listen to “Foster on the Fan.” The station’s new summer branding slogan is “Get Maximum Sports.” Cedar Valley Broadcasting is also home to two other radio networks: 93.5 The Mix and Cruisin’ KCFI. While I am exposed to all three radio station, my internship falls under the supervision of Bob Foster, program director of the sports network, 1650 The Fan.

InternshipMy job is to help promote the radio station through video! Although this may seem unusual for a radio station, since audio is their main medium and focus, transitioning to some form of video makes sense, especially with the rise of the Internet and social media. A common misconception is that radio is dying. After starting my internship, I quickly learned that it is not the case. While radio is declining, there is still a wide audience for it. My job is to help reach out to this audience, as well as new potential audience members who fit in the target demographic, and increase their interest and excitement for this sports network.

I usually go to the station for two hours, 10am-12pm, three days a week. During those six hours, I talk with and learn from my supervisor about many things. Sometimes we talk about future video projects, other times Mr. Foster teaches me how the radio network works. A few days ago, we talked about branding for the station. We have a reciprocity policy: I learn from him and he learns from me. It comes naturally. You can learn a lot from the different perspective and point of view of another person, especially with generational differences.

The main focus of my internship is to create promotional videos. Usually the first week is pre-production, in which we do creative exercise, discuss the layout and plan the shots. Then we go into production. This is done outside of the six hours, and usually in one day. After we finish filming, I complete post-production and upload the videos to 1650 The Fans’ YouTube channel. I have also worked on finding copyright free music for 1650 The Fan’s promos that air on their network.

I recently finished editing and uploading a series of videos from the ISU Tailgate Tour in Waterloo. I am just starting the pre-production phase of two video projects which I will be filming within the next two weeks. I am looking forward to what I will learn as an intern at 1650 The Fan!

-Clara Tosi

Tom’s Summer Internship Report

Summer is off to a beautiful start, and I am enjoying my Digital Media Leadership Internship here at NRG Media in Waterloo! I’ve stayed productive with all the tasks at hand and all the opportunities before me to explore the radio industry. I am exploring the world of radio broadcasting through four unique stations and formats that NRG hosts.


When I began at NRG Media, I was able to see all the pieces that come into play with the day-to-day and behind-the-scenes operations that make the broadcasting we hear as consumers happen. It’s been an amazing experience to see the amount of communication, technology, and impressive amount of adaptability needed on all levels of operations. It is fascinating to see the business take more familiar forms of media and bringing them together to reach consumers while adapting rapidly.

I’ve been able to see the ways that NRG reaches into various new forms of digital and social media. The “live” and “local” aspects of radio are some of the traditional strengths, and I see how NRG and the radio broadcast industry is updating these strengths in a competitive environment. With so many new forms of media, it is important to make sure that listeners are aware of the product, brand, and formats under the NRG Media umbrella.

I have worked with the people running the soundboard on a live remote and with those back at the station: with Craig from 105.7 KOKZ, with Connor from 107.3 The Party, and with Ned from Rock 108. I’ve seen a staggering amount of adaptability, and the on-the-fly confidence needed when it comes to running a live event or promotion. This kind of professional flexibility has been one of the most astounding things I’ve seen at NRG Media. I hope that I can hone my abilities in this internship.

I’ve also been excited to use what I have learned in Adobe Photoshop for real world applications that will soon be on various sites for the stations here at NRG.

I am excited to have the freedom and opportunity to explore NRG’s different stations, and I am even more excited to be involved in real world projects and events moving forward.

-Tom Randolph

Developing a Culture of Success: An Inspiring Session at the NAB Radio Show

Chris HoganWe’ve all heard the age-old expressions of a leader versus a boss. A boss takes credit and a leader gives credit, or a boss uses employees where a leader develops them. What about the overall culture of a workplace? Chris Hogan, a Dave Ramsey personality spoke at the NAB Radio show in Atlanta, Georgia in October. His focus was on workplace culture and leadership.

People like to work with others that are likeable. Hogan simply stated, “Be likeable!” When you are attempting to build business, are you someone that people walk away thinking, “I really like that guy/girl.” If you’re not, you might be taking your business in the wrong direction.

Hogan went on to discuss how to establish a culture of fun. First, you must understand that people matter. Everyone is on a different journey in this life and different things matter to those different people. Even more so, those people are different and matter as well.

Next, he suggested recognizing and rewarding people. Hogan said, “It’s hard to be hateful when you’re grateful.” Spend five minutes each morning writing out a thank you card or email to someone. Do it out of the sincerity of your heart. When you start to see people for the great things they do and acknowledge them for it, you will have a whole lot more people on your side.

Mind ShareSchedule a playtime. It’s important to have fun and play. Maybe schedule your next company meeting at a bowling alley. If you feel like you’re wasting time and money, you are not looking into investing in your company’s future. Employees are far more than machines. They have feelings, and personalities, and interests. Find out what they enjoy and show them that you can have fun too. Imagine that employer you may have had that all you know about them is the work they put out. You probably lacked sympathy for them and the business in general.

Lastly, avoid the ivory tower. Do you feel like you have perfected something? You probably haven’t. Odds are, there is someone out there that is better than you at your best skill. When you stop learning, you turn into a stagnate pool of water that no one wants to drink from. You need to be more like a river that is flowing. Constantly learning so you can teach. No one likes to be around those “know-it-alls” anyways.

Ultimately, create a culture that people like to be a part of. Like I had mentioned earlier, acknowledge that your employees are humans. They have problems in their lives, they like to be appreciated, they like to have fun, and they might have things to teach you. When you can transform your culture into that of fun, you will see great dividends.

– Peter Seifert

Seeing the Products of Radio: A Walk Around The NAB Radio Show Exhibit Floor

It’s crazy how people think radio DJ’s have a simple computer or CD, that plays through a control board with an off and on button and a microphone. The truth is, there is a lot more things used in radio besides the things I just listed, and there is great money in all of it. The NAB Radio Show in Atlanta helped me truly understand the crazy, behind-the-scenes technology that really goes into radio. While at the NAB Radio Show, we stopped at many booths on the exhibit floor but I’m going to tell you about 3 important stops.

Connor Kenney  When we first arrived at the NAB Radio Show, we were an hour early so we got the chance to walk around the exhibit floor and talk to people at different booths one-on-one. We met with a gentleman from the company Wide Orbit. Wide Orbit is an automation system that plays the music over the air, and allows you to do so much more, depending on what the station plans to do with that program. We wanted to talk to the company because our college radio station, KULT, uses the automation system. We talked about the bugs we have had, and the issues that have been trending within the college station over the last few years.

Radio ShowThe biggest booth at the NAB Radio Show was for an imaging company called Mix, where we talked to Omar Fajardo about radio imaging, about other radio imaging companies, and what they can do for college stations.

Radio ShowThe final important stop I’m going to tell you about was with Jerry Butler of Music Master. Music Master is a music scheduling company that is used by many stations across the world, including the company I work for in Waterloo, Iowa, NRG Media. Music Master saves time and headaches for general managers, operational managers, program directors, and on-air talents. I couldn’t stress enough to Jerry and our group how amazing Music Master was. It helps stations organize their music, setup logs and schedule music based off of the rules the user makes. I asked Jerry about getting it for KULT, and he said he highly recommended Music Master for college stations because it offers consistency throughout the year, even with a lot of college student turnover in campus stations.

Connor KenneyI attended a lot of fantastic training and information sessions, but I learned just as much from the exhibit floor. I had an amazing time at the NAB Radio Show in Atlanta and am grateful for the support of the UNI Communication Department and the Iowa Broadcasters Association which made our trip possible. I hope to see some of those companies in Nashville in 2016 if I can the chance to go!

Connor Kenney

We Don’t Need Work Parents: A Message from Millennials

I experienced a lot of great things at the 2015 NAB Radio Show. I met lots of amazing professionals, looked at some cool equipment, and attended really interesting and informative sessions.

The very first one I went to was a panel discussion about bridging the gap between older generations and millennials in the workplace. While I was originally excited for this session, it ended up demonstrating everything that’s terrible about being a millennial in today’s professional environment, and it can all be summed up in two words: Work Parent.

Millennial WorkplaceThis was a term that was actually used during the discussion by an older generation boss to describe his relationship with his millennial employee. I had never heard this term before and upon it gracing my ears for the very first time I actually physically cringed. Hear me out, bosses of the world: if you are looking to alienate each and every last one of your younger employees, there is no more efficient way to do it than to refer to yourself as their “Work Parent”. Let’s break down this insanity.

First, I already have parents. Most people do. Mine happen to be pretty great and I have no need for new ones. Second, I really don’t need parental figures at work. Do you know what parents do? They take care of their kids. Bosses can be great, but I don’t need by boss to take care of me.

A boss can be so many things, a colleague, a mentor, even a friend, but all of these relationships require a certain amount of mutual respect. In a parent-child relationship, not only is the power one-sided, so is the respect. While a parent may respect their child to a degree, this respect does not manifest itself through action or real independence. A child has no agency or autonomy. In the workplace, I always have agency regardless of my position in the company. Workers can file complaints, unionize, or quit if they feel they are being treated unfairly. A child is not extended these rights because their parents are charged with deciding what is best for them. To make a long story short: millennials are not children.

Millennial workspaceThankfully, in my short time in the working world I have had for the most part wonderful managers and bosses who were willing to help and teach me while respecting my opinions and input. What made these people great to work for was that they were confident in their knowledge and expertise, unquestionably in charge, and also friendly and understanding. We joked and laughed and exchanged ideas and worked together to produce great products, whether that be a radio show, a commercial, or a cup of coffee. Not once did these great bosses ever treat me like a child or try to act parental toward me.

Treating adults like adults. That’s how you bridge the generation gap. Turns out it’s just that easy.

Olivia Guns

Death to the Download: Why the Competition for Listens is Tougher Than Ever

For most of the 2000’s, digital music downloads made up the majority of ways people would buy and listen to music. Everyone you knew in 2008 had an iPod/mp3 player and if they didn’t, they sure wanted one. To be able to take your little square music box and your white headphones anywhere you wanted was a total game changer. This was the way we listened and would continue to listen to music forever. Or so we thought…

Streaming MusicWith the emergence of streaming websites such as Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, and Tidal, we no longer have to pay for each individual song. Remember the countless hours of putting together the perfect playlist and waiting through downloads upon downloads? Well now Spotify does that for you. Do you remember spending hours and hours surfing the net to find that new sound you had been looking for? It was just barely worth showing your friends the next big song. Now Pandora does that for you.

Pandora LogoPandora is a massive player in the music streaming industry. Pandora was founded in 2000, establishing itself as one of the first sites to jump start the streaming bandwagon. Pandora attempts to be a different animal, and the same beast (maybe this will make that reference work a little bit better for you). It changes the game with how it lets you stream music. You don’t pick songs to listen to, you pick a song you like and it plays you songs that you would be interested in based on that selection. This clearly has it’s uses, and its drawbacks.

Spotify LogoAnother one of the music industry giants that contributed to the gradual decline of download music is Spotify. Based on its website, Spotify claims to have over 75 million active users. If each of those users listen to one song a day (which some won’t, but some could listen to dozens a day) that’s at least 75 million plays a day. I imagine the number is much higher than that, but that is a lot of traffic on one site. Spotify also boasts a library of more than 30 million songs, rivaling that of Apple Music. These numbers should be more than terrifying to Apple and Amazon, similar to trends of people ditching cable for streaming, it is apparent that people know what they want, and they aren’t going away from it any time soon.

Apple Music  Tidal Music

Apple Music and Tidal are a little bit new to the streaming scene. Apple quickly recognized that what it was doing before was no longer an option, so they had to change. Enter Apple Music. It’s a streaming service that for a monthly fee you can listen to all of the songs that you want on itunes. It also creates playlist based on songs you already have downloaded. It is by Apple obviously, so people like it because they already have their macbooks and iphones so the integration is nice.

Tidal is a new company that is more for the artist. Tidal, by far, pays more to the artist for their music. Spotify pays the least. Tidal is a pretty fresh concept and so far hasn’t worked out like they had planned. It definitely has potential, but it is almost too early to tell in many ways.

Company Pros Cons
Spotify User friendly, large library, free. Ads, some artist refuse to use it (Taylor Swift).
Pandora Free, large library. Can’t choose specific song.
Apple Music Apple integration, large library, huge potential. Not free, relatively new and unknown.
Tidal Jay Z’s circle, fresh idea, pays more. Not free, to new to fully understand.

To me the clear winner in this comparison is Spotify. It has a hold on the streaming game and is not about to let go any time soon. That being said, Apple Music and Tidal do have the potential to overtake Spotify if they make all the right moves. If Jay Z can get music that other services can’t, it will put a real strangle hold on Spotify. Apple Music already has the plat form to be successful. They just need to utilize what they have and not be ignorant to what the people want. As for now, however, it is and will continue to be all about Spotify.

Trey Kamberling