Category Archives: Radio

Radio Trends & Issues on Modern Media Mix

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.

Internship

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

Changing the World, One Listener at a Time

Everyone wants to change the world. Oh, you don’t want to change the world, you just want to be on the radio? Trust me, you’re going to change someone’s world.

People go into radio for many reasons: they want to speak their mind, they want to play music, they want to tell jokes, they certainly want to do a lot. But have you ever stopped and thought about who your favorite local radio personality is? Have you ever thought about hearing them everyday and laughing at the stupid thing they were saying? Or that awesome song they just played? We’ve all experienced that at least once in our lives.

Radio isn’t going away, and neither are the local DJ’s, and I don’t think you want them to leave. Radio DJ’s do more than hit buttons and play music or say dumb stuff, they are there every day doing the same thing over and over, being a part of your life and trying to connect with you.

Sometimes they do it in very unique ways, like KIIS 1065 in Sydney, Australia

Lori Lewis from allaccess.com talks about why Casy Kasem mattered. Lewis talks about why Casey was very important to many people’s lives then, and how he continues to influence people today. She talks about how he connected with people emotionally through the radio. But Casey did more than that. Casey’s content certainly brought the listeners in, by being there every Sunday morning on your radio counting down the greatest songs in America that week. You knew he would be there.

Casey KasemSure Casey had to retire due to health issues, but it was weird when Ryan Seacrest took over right? It wasn’t Casey Kasem! Where is Casey at?! But now we are used to Ryan counting down the top songs in America every Sunday. The other best thing about Casey, I think, is that he loved when people remembered the words he spoke. He said,“The greatest compliment that anyone can pay me is that after I say something, they remember it.” That shows you as a listener, that On-Air people are trying their best to grab your attention. They want you to hear them and to be locked into their show, that week, that month, that year, or even over their entire career.

Being a part-time On-Air personality is a challenge, and I know that first hand. Being a part-timer at a radio station means you are at the bottom of the totem pole, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference. I work in a station where most of the people have been working for fifteen years or more, so there is a lot of experience. They give advice about getting out there, creating good content, being involved, kind of like what this list says.

But being a part-timer, you have to go above and beyond what you actually say to be recognized, not only by your peers, but by the listeners. I’ll give you one example of how I stood out to a few listeners, and that really made me feel like I had thousands of listeners during a show.

Connor KenneyI was told to work on Christmas last year because I’m a part-timer. I definitely wanted to be with my family on Christmas, but I have a job to do and if I didn’t do those shows, I would have probably gotten fired. At least the time-and-a-half pay helped me feel a little better. So on Christmas, I got a call from a woman in Iowa City, asking me if I was stupid, or neglected, because I was the only real On-Air personality that she had heard that day. I said, no, I’m just doing my job: wishing people a Merry Christmas whenever they call, and playing some awesome rock music. She was very thankful to have someone to hear on the air, and told me she appreciated me not going home, and for being in her kitchen that Christmas morning.

I had a few other callers telling me they only were listening to the station because I was the only person on the air. They didn’t even like rock music, but they wanted to hear someone real and that made them feel connected and happy. You couldn’t give a better gift than that on Christmas.

Consistency really keeps the listener coming back. They like changing content, but you are the reason why they keep coming back to your show, so establish yourself and be there for people.

Do you have a moment where an On-Air person influenced you or emotionally got to you? Do you have any major radio influences? Do you think that On-Air personalities are still relevant today? What content do you like to hear about on the radio?

– Connor Kenney

Radio is Rebounding: My Experience at a Sports & News Radio Station

The radio industry is not doing as badly as you might have heard. And my experience interning at Cedar Valley Broadcasting in Cedar Falls bore that out. I quickly learned that radio in general is still thriving in the commercial sector. Companies know that their ads will reach a customer base, and that radio is an effective avenue to deliver their message.

In recent history, radio giants in New York and California have filed for bankruptcy, or posted horrid profits. But this is not because radio is dying, but because those giants tried to change the way they market and how radio works. While moving towards a mobile market, like iHeartRadio did, is one of the obvious trends in radio, it is not the only way to make money in the market. My radio station met and exceeded their sales goals in the three months that I interned there.

Many people cite the trend towards online media and that radio is losing out to apps like Pandora or Spotify, but these companies are nothing new. People have been listening to alternative forms of audio over radio for decades. Since the inception of the vinyl record the radio market has been finding new alternative ways to reach people and deal with new forms of audio technology.

So, I will say it now, in my own opinion – and the opinion of the rest of the radio world–RADIO IS NOT DEAD, IT’S JUST CHANGING.

Radio InternshipI spent my summer as the primary News Intern and during that time I learned a lot about sound editing, news writing, and broadcasting on a large spectrum network. Though most of my work was in news, I also offered my voice to several commercials and ad spots on all three of our stations. The main station I was broadcast on was AM 1650 The Fan, a sports station that carries national sports talk radio shows, with local and national news at the top and bottom of the hour. Though I wasn’t working as a hard hitting journalist, it was a good station for me to learn from my mistakes and understand what it means to tell a story.

When you are given strict guidelines for your stories you are forced to discover the meat of a story, and distill what people actually need to hear to understand a news event. I also learned just how little people respect or trust reporters. I was repeatedly sidelined by secretaries that promised to “pass my message along,” but then I would never hear from the person I wished to interview.

It is widely believed by public officials that reporters are only out to find the dirt and to spin stories against businesses and people. Even when there was no possible way to spin a story in a negative light, such as reporting on the cross-state bike race, RAGBRAI, I met with opposition in certain towns. I would only receive carefully written statements, that danced around definitive answers, and never truly answered my questions.

Radio Internship All in all I believe that radio will provide a great deal of news and entertainment for many decades to come not matter how “terrible” radio seems to be doing.

Thomas Winkelman