By Ellen Garnett
The Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS) held its 8th annual East Coast Radio & Media Conference at Simmons this past weekend, pulling in seasoned radio professionals and college students in the Boston area and beyond.
The conference held various sessions on radio, ranging in topics from “How to Create a Killer Show” to “The Changing Face of Radio. Broadcast professionals came together to share their words of wisdom with college students interested in pursuing careers in the industry.
“It restored my faith in communications,” said Janelle Anderson, assistant general manager at Shark Radio at Simmons. “The possibilities aren’t narrow. There are actually a lot of things you can do with it.”
In the session on “The Changing Face of Radio,” panelists Dave Skill, news anchor at WATD radio Marshfield and Steve Theo, co-owner of Pirate! and faculty member at Bay State College, spoke about the uncertainty of college radio. Discussions centered around how the role of radio has evolved and how it has stayed the same in some ways.
In the 1978, Robert Haber founded the College Media Journal (CMJ), a bi-weekly trade magazine for college radio stations. This journal would send top 30 lists to college radio stations, which used to make these stations influential in helping independent artists get their big breaks. Now, college radio does not seem to have as much of an impact as it once did, as new technologies have siphoned listeners.
However, according to the Pew Research Center’s 2015 State of the News Media report revealed that “91 percent of Americans listen to traditional AM/FM radio each week.” In addition, online radio listenership continues to increase, especially for podcasts. Specialty shows are increasingly popular, as National Public Radio (NPR) programs have shown. Thus, the role of college radio is evolving.
Another session, called “Finding that First Job” gave insight into what college students should do in landing their first job in the broadcast industry. Panelists agreed: do not be picky, because you need to get your foot in the door. Do your research on a company before going into an interview because going in blind will not make a great first impression.
“It was nice to see people representing the industries I’m interested in pursuing,” said Katherine Conley, music director of Shark Radio at Simmons. Conley heard from a radio professional from the now off-air WFNX, a Boston-based radio station she listened to while growing up. WFNX planted the seed of interest in radio for Conley.
The session “How to Create a Killer Show” gave newbies some tips and tricks on how to do the best possible radio show. For Maura Coughlin, a Simmons first year student who just started her own show called “The Mo Show,” this session was helpful in getting down to the basics of radio.
“Since I’m new to radio and I’m not a communications major, I met a lot of cool people and made friends here, from Wentworth Institute of Technology, Bay State College, and Merrimack College who attended the conference,” said Coughlin.
The next IBS conference will be in New York City between March 3 and 7 as its 77th International Conference.