Wednesday, April 27, 2011

An Outsider's View of a Radio Station

From TechNet Blogs by Harold Wong:

Every once in a while, I get a chance to visit a facility that can be categorized as “pretty cool”.  A couple of weeks ago, I had such an opportunity and thought I would do a quick blog post on it (meant to get this out sooner).
I had a chance to visit Blake Handler (an MVP in Los Angeles) on Monday, April 11th at his work. Blake happens to work for CBS Radio and he was able to give me a quick tour of their facility. I’ve always wondered how things worked in the radio business and this was definitely an eye opening experience.
In the “old” days, music was stored on cartridges that were inserted into the DJ’s console and so the DJ actually had to do some work during the show. Today, everything is pretty much computerized so the songs are all stored on a server and then streamed out. The DJ has a computer screen that shows the list of songs that will be played as well as where commercials will be aired. Other than acknowledging the next song to be played, there really isn’t a whole lot for the DJ to do. To be fair, this does depend on the format of the program. If it is a talk show, then the DJ is definitely responsible for hosting guests that are there in person or on the phone and guiding the conversations that take place. For non-talk shows or news programs, it didn’t seem like the DJ had that much to do.
Also, for news programs, I found that most of that is somewhat scripted and approved before the newsperson reads it over the air. I say “somewhat scripted” because it is usually the news person who writes the initial piece and the editor may make minor changes before it is approved. Ultimately, it is still unique information, but I always thought it was totally ad-lib and off the cuff. Now, I know it is highly regulated.
Another interesting thing is that the FCC has strict rules on how many times in a given period a single artist can be aired. Example – it Is not allowed to air all 60 continuous minutes of songs from Phil Collins. There are rules for how often a song can be played as well as how often different songs from a single artist can be played.
Since a lot of radio stations are also being broadcast over the Internet, the coordination of commercials seems like a science. As an example, if the franchise owner of a McDonalds paid for a commercial in the Los Angeles area, but not in the Irvine area, then the station has ensure the commercial is only aired for the area in which it was meant. This also means that a different commercial would air over the Internet since that could be heard in Phoenix and therefore the commercial would mean nothing to me here in Phoenix. This is definitely a lot more complicated than I thought it would be.
I really enjoyed the tour and am glad Blake was able to take time out of his day to give me the personal tour.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Job Interviewing Strategies

Excerpted from Cynopsis Classified Advantage: 

It's The Little Things That Can Make A Big Difference.
In past editions, I have covered many strategies concerning the interview.  This week, I'm going to write about the small things, the things that people often forget.  

One of the few things you have complete control over is what you wear.  Make it good.

Make sure you know how to pronounce the name of the person you're meeting and the receptionist.  Thank the receptionist, by name, on the way out.

Mind set: What can I do for you and your company...

Understand what you can specifically bring to the company, and sell it.

Understand what makes you unique, and make sure you communicate it clearly to the interviewer.

Know the mission statements of both your past and prospective employer.  If not asked, you can reword and work their philosophy into yours.

If asked, accept water.  It gives you something to do with your hands, and if you need time to think, take a sip.

Ask for the interviewer's business card.  After leaving the office, check to make sure all contact info is on the card, if not, ask the receptionist for the address so you can send a thank you letter.

Don't try to fake it, ask for clarification if you don't understand something.

Ask about why the last person left, but if the interviewer side steps the question, leave it alone.

Be patient in answering your questions, it's better to be smart than fast.

Are you nervous? No, I'm excited.

Blog, blog, blog.  This is your portfolio.

Exercise beforehand or whatever makes you calm.

Though difficult to decipher, understand the hiring manager may not be looking for the most qualified, but the best fit.  Sometimes they are not the same thing.  Use this knowledge to your advantage.

Without the use of pom poms, make sure the interviewer knows you're enthused about this opportunity.

If you are unemployed and the interviewer asks why, tell them in an honest and brief manner.  Do not over explain.

Talk with passion, or lose the job.

Don't forget to smile.  Nervous people often don't smile, a smile may make you stand out.

Finish the interview with three good reasons why you should be hired, and thank the interviewer for their time.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Where in the World is ARB Graduate Mike Powell?

Motivated videographer/editor Mike Powell has been busy the past few years since leaving the Academy. Freelancing on both local and national productions, Mike's latest has been working on the "Transformers 3" movie and editing a trailer!  You can watch it here:!/video/video.php?v=10150103819075772&comments

Keep up the good work Mike!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

An Inspirational Broadcaster

Excerpted from (bold emphasis is mine, ed.)

It’s remarkable enough in today’s transient radio industry that WSOC Charlotte, N.C., APD/MD Rick McCracken just celebrated his 25th anniversary with the station last month. Even more noteworthy is what he’s been able to achieve in the business, despite being legally blind.

His story is an inspirational one, and demonstrates the importance of remaining flexible and adaptable in the radio business, even for those with perfect vision.

“Look what’s happened in the last few years,” McCracken says. “We’re all going digital. We’re all having to learn to blog and do all the social networking simultaneously with being air personalities and programmers. We’re having to learn completely different communication skills. If you don’t embrace that, you get left behind by it.

Around the office, he’s found a way to do everything he needs to do. And other than some magnification software on his computer, he hasn’t asked his employers for any special equipment. He buys his own magnifying glasses, and uses the same Braille writer he’s had since he was 14 years old.

In addition to his programming duties, McCracken also regularly fills in airshifts during other station personalities’ vacations and sick days, and is responsible for a few weekend shifts as well. For on-air reading, he says, “I need, obviously, really large print, or I need to Braille things out.”

In many ways, the always-improving computer technologies have made things easier for McCracken, who says, “A computer is like a library card to me. I’ve been able to read things that I’ve never been able to read before.”

At the same time, however, the shift in recent years to everything in the studio being computerized has actually added challenges for McCracken. “Computer screens and keyboards have replaced just about everything that I learned how to manipulate starting out in this business,” he says. “Luckily you can still feel a console, but cart machines are gone, turntables are gone. All that stuff has been replaced with just a keyboard and computer screen. So, in some ways, it makes it a little more difficult. It certainly messes with your instincts. When you’re a jock and you’re segueing records, there’s so much that you feel. You don’t have that anymore with today’s technology.”

On his longevity, McCracken says the key has been to “learn to adapt to situations. Don’t think ‘This is the way I’ve done it for 20 years and it has to be this way.’ You just have to learn to make any situation work.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tune In for Entertainment

An examination of talk radio content, and an "aha" moment from author and self-described liberal Orrin Onken... excerpted from Salon:

“I have noticed one thing about conservative talkers.  Glenn Beck and our local man, Lars Larson, have been in the radio business since they were young men. Neither is educated in anything other than broadcasting. Their lack of formal education often shows, but their entertainment skills and their ability to respond spontaneously to almost any situation make up for it. Like Oprah, the successful right-wing talkers seem to have been born for entertainment. I don't listen to radio in my car to educate myself; I listen to ease the drudgery of driving. Perhaps I don't care what's being said as long as it's on a subject I know something about, and presented in an interesting manner. I wonder if Air America didn't fail because it depended too much on policy wonks and true believers.

If I'm right about this, my addiction doesn't really have all that much to do with politics. I like politics, of course, but mostly I like hearing people talk.” 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Where in the World is ARB Graduate Stacey Kumagai?

Stacey Kumagai has turned her time from a student at The Academy of Radio & Television Broadcasting into a career as one of the busiest Creative Consultants/Media Marketers working in the business today!

A 1986 grad, who was encouraged to attend the Academy by the actor Louis Gossett, Jr. and then soon-to-be "Lovesongs on the KOST" host Karen Sharp,  Stacey has worked in both radio and T.V. but has found her true calling in guiding other people's careers in the media.

An author, activist and savvy creative businesswoman, Stacey has had an enviable career... with way too many achievements to mention here. We hope you'll read up on all of Stacey's adventures on her website

Congratulations on all your successes Stacey!