By Lisa Nault
The Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS) Conference occurred last weekend for any college students to attend. I had to wake up early for a Saturday, but I was up and ready to go for the 9 a.m. registration. I am very glad that I did make it to the conference because it was very interesting.
Since it was a broadcasting conference, most of the panels discussed radio programs, PR, and marketing. I have a program on Simmons College Radio, so the radio information was very interesting to me.
The first two panels were “PR/Marketing and Promotions” and “Planning a Killer Show,” which had so much information. One take-away was a phrase that went “headline, punch-line, get out.”
If you are interested in radio, it is important to not take up too much time just talking if your program revolves around music. You can talk, but it is essential to keep it short or else the audience will change programs. Therefore, you can say the headline or what you want to inform your viewers about, the punch-line or memorable comment/joke about the headline, and then get out and move on to the next song.
In terms of audience, I also learned in the first panel some key questions to ask when figuring out your program. First, who is your audience? If you are involved with Simmons College Radio, it is likely to be college students. What is your mission: to entertain or inform? Both need planning in order to be executed in a well-formatted fashion.
There are many methods for promoting a program. One is reaching out to local places such as theaters, coffee shops, or restaurants to request donatations. The worst that could happen is they say no, but if they say yes then the program could raffle the items.
A station can also promote itself through social media. There are many outlets: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, personal website, etc.
Both panels mentioned that perception/radio is a theatre of the mind. It is what you want it to be and you can mold it into what you want others to see. You can orchestrate the playlist and ideas and your audience can interpret your work into something they connect with.
Those panels were very intriguing, taught by Professor Andrew Porter, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame DJ Larry Miller, and Scott Gibbons from WPLM radio. You did not have to be interested in all of that to gain something from the conference. My favorite panel of the day came at the end of the day called “Women in Media.” There I met with Sarah Dulaney Macneil and Erica Moura. Moura is the multimedia reporter for the Boston Herald and Macneil is a web developer and marketer. Both of these women were inspiring and gave sincere advice over a variety of topics.
If I had to choose three pieces of advice they suggested to listen to, they would be: the importance of networking, staying true to yourself, and making sure people know your name.
Networking refers to the idea of a person gaining connections in the business world. Macneil recommended creating business cards as soon as possible and to always carry some on you. In fact, she had just done some networking at the conference on the elevator because she had her business cards on hand. They are not too expensive to make, and you can always ask your advisor if you are not sure what information to put on the cards. A key thing to remember is that anyone can be a connection.
Staying true to yourself can sometimes be easier said than done. You are a person and are allowed to make mistakes so do not let fear hold you back. Moura advocated that you are you and should never let a company change that. Sure, sacrifices might have to be made: maybe you will get less sleep than planned or go home late. However, if you feel the opportunity is not right for you, or you feel yourself being manipulated, you do not have to fret. More opportunities will come along.
It may be hard for some people to speak up, but both Macneil and Moura believe that you have to make yourself known. At interviews you should ask questions, at work say “My name is ___. Let me know if you need any help,” and you can make points or suggestions because what you have to say matters.
I had a very informative experience at the IBS East Conference this weekend and I cannot wait to start networking more towards my goal in life.