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.
Another 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.