Is there any benefit to doing college radio over commercial radio?
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Thread: Is there any benefit to doing college radio over commercial radio?

  1. #1

    Is there any benefit to doing college radio over commercial radio?

    I never went to college and dove right into the world commercial radio (I'm 20 years of age now). Some people have said that I have done myself a disservice by not being part of the college radio environment, but is there really any truth to that?

    My ultimate hope is to claim some form of spot in a major market in the not too distant future (i've been at my current position a year so far), would I have made things easier (not to mention, faster) on myself if I went for the college radio world?

  2. #2
    Do you like to get paid? Then college radio is not for you. College radio is typically a student activity. They don't pay students unless they need board ops for the University's NPR affiliates. Then, it's usually minimum wage. That's about it.

    However, if you aspire to being more than what you are right now, I'd suggest a college education.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigA View Post
    However, if you aspire to being more than what you are right now, I'd suggest a college education.
    I'm sure I will look back regretfully on not heading off to college, but I am too set on getting farther and farther into the radio business!

    It starts out simple: "I'll just aspire to have a part time gig in a small market" and snowballs from there.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by fordranger797 View Post

    It starts out simple: "I'll just aspire to have a part time gig in a small market" and snowballs from there.
    I know some people who spent their lives doing nothing more. That could be you.

    The reason I got out of the talent side was I was a guy your age working next to people almost three times my age doing the exact same thing. I have a short attention span, and I didn't want to spend 40 years tightening the same nut on a bolt.

    There's a much bigger world out there, and education can make a big difference, especially when it comes to the higher paying jobs.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigA View Post

    There's a much bigger world out there, and education can make a big difference, especially when it comes to the higher paying jobs.
    I certainly agree. I actually dropped out of community college because I felt that every class was a waste of time (all I wanted to do was put my attention into climbing the "radio ladder").

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigA View Post
    I know some people who spent their lives doing nothing more. That could be you.

    The reason I got out of the talent side was I was a guy your age working next to people almost three times my age doing the exact same thing. I have a short attention span, and I didn't want to spend 40 years tightening the same nut on a bolt.
    I know exactly what you are talking about, and being in that position is definitely something that I do not wish to do. I am going to be honest, I am not the type of person who would ever admit that I am never going to be good enough to work in major market radio (even though it could very well be true).

  7. #7
    Unsolicited advice, but if I were doing it all again I'd look at being a broadcast technician. Sure there aren't as many jobs in that field as 25 years ago, but there's always the cellular companies and they'll always need good RF people.

    You might want to consider a field other than radio/mass comm in college, given that you're already learning a lot on the job. Having a business degree, whether an associate's or a bachelor's will always come in handy in media sales, and it's generally a good background for a lot of other things too. (I am biased, as this was the route I took)

  8. #8

    Join Date
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    My take on this is a college education for moving up the radio ladder is not a priority. Sure it can help but I found it has much more to do with being at the right place at the right time. That took a strong network of radio people and an agreeable attitude.

    To be honest, I began in a different era where all stations had a human in the building every hour. Plainly put, after a decade or so on the air and some programming gigs in small markets and lower end rated markets, I was forced in to sales in a city of about 40,000 working under a successful top 20 market GM that bought his first station. In a few years I was a GM at an AM/FM small market combo. A few years later I moved to a top 10 market non-rated station as Sales Manager. For 22 years I've been the GM of a top 10 market station...one of those just off the radar, so to speak, making good money producing a profit for the station and the stress is nil. I'd say I did okay. I'm certainly not a top name and don't feel the need to be. I can say I can fill almost any position in a radio station.

    I am very passionate about radio. All my life I've loved radio. I'm always learning and trying to give a leg up to those looking to climb the ladder. I can't imagine going to work each day...I go play.

    If radio is your choice, be passionate about it and not just about jocking. Learn everything you can and try everything you can. The more you know about every aspect of running a radio station, the greater the possibilities you will be the one the owner simply has to keep around because they'd be lost without you. It helps to be fully above board and treat a station as if you are paying the bills. By doing that you'll gain that trust you need from an owner. And if you play it right, you might get to become an owner.

    I might add that almost every opportunity I took came from a friend in the business. In fact, my move to my current station happened like this: I called my buddy and he said his station needed a Sales Manager, something I wasn't sure I was ready for. At my interview my owner looked at my resume about 5 seconds and said he had one question: Did you and (my friend) work together at X station. I said yeas and was offered the job...no other questions. It was my friend's good words that landed me the job and even made me aware of the position in the first place.

    At another position, I was hired for 2-6am because I was so bad. A few days later, the 6 to 10pm jock called in to say he was sick. I was standing there and was asked to work that shift. During my shift there was an incident at a station gathering and some employees went to talk to the owner. The GM promptly fired those folks that went to see the owner. The GM asked me to cover morning drive. At the staff meeting after my shift I was permanently on AM drive and became music director. My PD felt I was the most teachable and felt I'd do what he said without argument. And that's how I went from a small market to the second in charge in a rated market in under 5 days. It sure wasn't my talent but just my good fortune to be at the right place at the right time. I got that job via a friend that knew the PD.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by b-turner View Post
    At another position, I was hired for 2-6am because I was so bad. A few days later, the 6 to 10pm jock called in to say he was sick. I was standing there and was asked to work that shift. During my shift there was an incident at a station gathering and some employees went to talk to the owner. The GM promptly fired those folks that went to see the owner. The GM asked me to cover morning drive. At the staff meeting after my shift I was permanently on AM drive and became music director. My PD felt I was the most teachable and felt I'd do what he said without argument. And that's how I went from a small market to the second in charge in a rated market in under 5 days. It sure wasn't my talent but just my good fortune to be at the right place at the right time. I got that job via a friend that knew the PD.
    What an awesome story! I certainly don't expect to be that lucky, but its certainly worth working for. Being on-air is what I love most, but I understand that I may have to have additional jobs to support myself.

  10. #10
    Unregistered
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    Hi FR- Good luck in your career. As on old timer, by crackee who got a B.A. at age 41, I suggest you head to a community college near you and get a well rounded education, such as an Associates degree while attending part time. (I assume you're in the U.S. or Canada).

    Consider taking courses like Music Appreciation, Art Appreciation, History, Political Science, Geography, Business Writing and others especially in Communications. Just try to learn a little bit about a lot of things.

    I'm sure you could meet with school counselors. A college education can't hurt.

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