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Board Blog: Police (Communication) Line: Please Cross!


I’m always eager to brag about my news students’ spirit when covering hard-hitting story assignments in our village of 2,500. In the last few years, our team has pushed themselves to increase their journalistic credibility and become more than “those kid reporters at the college.” We pride ourselves in practicing ethics, especially when covering the big stories in our small community that have made state and national news.

Lisa Marshall, CBI Treasurer

Lisa Marshall, CBI Treasurer

Many of our reporters openly admit they are scared or lack the confidence to rub elbows with first responders on a given news scene. However, they always return to share exciting new perspectives with their peers. Because there were others too often playing “nose goes” when asked “who’s stepping up to get that interview?” or “who’s going to drop what they’re doing to go to the scene?,” our organization established a goal last year to increase communication with our local law enforcement to help make reporting easier.

It might be the small community advantage that made this initiative successful, but I happily encourage you to use any of our ideas to help improve your local news team and first responder relationships.

Invite Officers to your Turf

We invited our county sheriff to our fall semester management retreat to candidly discuss the dos and don’ts of calling dispatch, arriving on a scene, and establishing positive reporter rapport with law enforcement officers. The discussion ventured into areas of media law, ethics, and officer media training.

New Concord Fire Chief Brent Gates introduces Orbit Media’s new 911 scanner March 14, 2016.

New Concord Fire Chief Brent Gates introduces Orbit Media’s new 911 scanner March 14, 2016.

Even those student leaders who were not on our news team walked away with excellent tips about media professionalism to kick-off the year.

In conjunction with our Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) chapter, we hosted a Q&A session during “Sunshine Week” with our village police and fire chiefs. Students learned firsthand that our local first responders want to get to know them, too, so officers can easily identify and trust our crew at a busy scene. We received many valuable tips about officer rankings, interviews, and how to best follow up after an incident. Both of these sessions connected textbook knowledge to practical skills and are definite repeats for coming years.

Team Up for a News Project

Our media outlet was invited to collaborate with local officials to document a prom weekend mock car crash awareness video for our town’s high school this past May. Our student television program director oversaw the entire production…from capturing pre-recorded video at the State Highway Patrol and Emergency Room, to the final edited piece to show the student body the day after the crash. Additionally, our cub reporters had an all-access on-the-scene pass to help collect endless B-Roll, interviews, and photos by documenting things like the med flight helicopter circling the accident to the funeral home leaving the scene. The best part was that students could try something new, allow on-site advisers instantly critique their work, and try again. This valuable opportunity invited our students to openly “be allowed to fail” all while gaining confidence to practice media professionalism.

Instant Communication

A valuable gift arrived toward the end of the year from our fire chief…our very own 911 scanner! Our newsroom can now hear every call dispatch in the area. While some students are still too young to understand the significance of our instant path of first responder communication, our upperclassmen were so appreciative of our new way of learning about breaking news. I’m excited to fire it back up in August!

Share your newsroom’s local first responder-student media communication ideas; let’s propose a roundtable at NSEMC in Philadelphia! Please contact me this week |

By | July 27th, 2016|Board Blogs|Comments Off on Board Blog: Police (Communication) Line: Please Cross!

Board Blog: Six Weeks (OR LESS) and Counting


It’s only the second week in July—where did summer go—and most media operations kick back into high gear with a full staff in six weeks or less.

Warren Kozireski, CBI Immediate Past President

Warren Kozireski, CBI Immediate Past President

42 days or less.

Sorry to ruin your summer, but are you ready?

Is that to-do list you created at the end of last semester finished or close to finished?

Some thought starters in case you forgot:

  • Recruitment meeting is set, flyers ready, social media posts planned, info is with key faculty members?
  • Documents & website updated—new officers, new schedule, new by-laws, new training manual?
  • Swag ordered and delivered before everyone gets back?
  • First meeting planned out with icebreakers, long and short term planning, goals and objectives?
  • Any facility/studio projects completed & ready for any needed staff training?
  • Needed equipment ordered (headphones, mics, cameras, etc.)
  • Introduced yourself (and your other student leaders) to the key players on campus (President, department Chair, Dean, Alumni Association Director, Student Government officers & board, building coordinator)?
  • Filled out any needed paperwork to register you club/org with campus offices?
  • Do you have enough organization letterhead, envelopes, business cards, office supplies, banners and mic flags to get you through at least the first semester?

That will get you started and help brainstorm some more specific to your operation.

The key to getting off to a great start and being able to spend enough time recruiting/training/networking with newcomers is to have as many of the logistical items crossed off your list before the semester starts.

Enjoy a few days of sunshine and relaxation, but not too many if you want to get off on the right foot as a student leader.

By | July 13th, 2016|Board Blogs|Comments Off on Board Blog: Six Weeks (OR LESS) and Counting

Board Blog: Bridge the gap between managers and DJs


Congratulations! You are now on the executive management team at your college radio station. You got a position by showing dedication, having a good music show, and you knocked your interview out of the park. Now, you are king of the world, and can do anything you want!

Evan Boyd, CBI Student Representative

Evan Boyd, CBI Student Representative

Well, not exactly.

Being on an executive team is a privilege, as you now represent your college radio station to the students, the community, and the school. Most importantly – with this position, it is important to never look down at the other DJ’s, as if Big Brother is watching them. The gap between your staff and your DJs can be limited by giving them more opportunities and treating them equally. I’ve found that by using some of these ideas, not only will you get more positive feedback from your DJs, but it will improve your station as a whole.

Have monthly meetings, and invite DJs to events.

The first Wednesday of every month, WSUM holds a monthly meeting inviting the DJs to hear what is going on around the station, allowing them to get involved some more if the opportunity is given. Not only will you find your most committed DJs here, but it will be easier for them to get to know you. Refreshments and/or pizza are always a great way to get people in!

One of the biggest station bonding events that WSUM does is attend a baseball game at a local independent league. While I love baseball, the best part about it is that you can hate sports and still enjoy an event like this. Another great part about it is that it is different – if I had to guess where a bunch of college music lovers would go, the last place I would look at is around a baseball field.

Remember everybody’s name.

The “I have trouble remembering names” will need to change. Using the person’s name acknowledges their identity, massaging their ego and thus boosting their self-esteem. Just by recognizing that they exist, you have done them a great favor. I can recall the first time I walked into WSUM, wanting to help out in any way. The person I first talked to was incredible helpful, and she and I became good friends. She made me feel welcome to a place where I had no idea how things ran.

Create teams that they can join.

Try and create something so that they can come in for another hour during the week, instead of simply coming in to do their show. There are so many other things that they can get involved with if you give them the opportunity. For example, when I was the Production Director, I created the “production team” that would create ID’s, spots, PSA’s, and more fun things as another way to get involved. At first, not as many people showed up as I would have liked, but I never gave up and kept pushing the team. This past fall, three of the members of production team became members of the executive management team.


Listen to their shows, and provide feedback.

This past semester, I decided to listen to EVERYBODY’S show, which, as you can probably imagine, took some time. After listening to a ton of shows and writing down notes on what I liked and what I thought could improve, I almost gave up and said to myself that this was pointless to do. But after sending some emails out, I got so much positive feedback from the DJs, saying that it felt good that somebody on the exec team was listening, and that they would continue to work on their skills.

Even if you thought the show was bad, it is important to stay as positive as you can be with the email, call, etc. Not only did it improve quality control, but it made people feel more relaxed about doing their show, and felt more comfortable asking me any questions they had. I truly believe that this is one of the most important things to do to keep in touch with the rest of your station.

Be the first to say hi.

This sounds silly, but going out of your way to say hi to a new DJ will change everything. You do not have to wait to see if they come to you, just introduce yourself! Who knows – maybe the next person you say hi to will become the next in charge at the station.

Evan is the Station Manager at WSUM 91.7 FM at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. For any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to him at

By | June 29th, 2016|Board Blogs|1 Comment

Board Blog: Student media can be part of the solution


One of the biggest issues facing young people, particularly college students, today is mental health. Counseling centers on campuses throughout the country are reporting dramatic increases in demands for their services. More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from all other illnesses combined.

Greg Weston, CBI President

Greg Weston, CBI President

Experts say that two of the most effective tactics in preventing suicide and getting help for people suffering from mental health concerns are raising awareness and reducing stigma. Schools nationwide are trying to figure out how to get these messages out to their students. Student media outlets are uniquely positioned to support these efforts.

It is the responsibility of student media outlets to incorporate mental health matters into their programming. There are any number of ways this can be done, ranging from simply running PSAs to news coverage to offering regular airtime to your campus’s counseling center or other campus groups tackling these issues.

There are also more creative and impactful ways to pitch in. If you’re a music station, why not do a series on musicians who have dealt with mental health challenges (Elliott Smith, Syd Barrett, etc.), tagged with a list of resources available in your area? Or host a benefit concert for local mental health organizations.

While this might not sound like a “fit” with your normal programming, your audience is, or is close to people who are, dealing with mental health issues. They will be receptive to the topic.

Finally, don’t forget that it’s likely that some of your staff members are struggling with these same challenges. Working in the media is very demanding, and student media participants have to juggle that with classes and, in many cases, other jobs. That can lead to stress and anxiety, among other problems.

If you’re a student leader or adviser, please be sensitive to this. Raise awareness: Consider including self-care in your training process for student leaders. Watch for warning signs (which include withdrawal, anxiety, changes in eating/sleeping patterns, loss of interest) and be prepared to direct students to resources on your campus. Examine your messaging: Are you placing unreasonable expectations and demands on already stressed-out students? Above all, make sure students know that they can count on you for support.

Student media should be part of the solution, not part of the problem.


By | June 15th, 2016|Board Blogs|Comments Off on Board Blog: Student media can be part of the solution

Board Blog: Students can love radio


Like many readers of Radio World, I started in radio before the era of consolidation. It was a time when there were a lot more opportunities for high school and college students to become involved with radio stations in their communities. The 1,000 watt AM station in my town welcomed young people interested in broadcasting and took generations of students under its wing. When I went off to college, the local stations there employed a number of college kids part time, including me. There were opportunities in news, music, production, engineering, and more. During high school or college this is how many of us got our start in radio.

Mark Maben, CBI Development Director

Mark Maben, CBI Development Director

I found myself thinking back on those days recently because audio is enjoying a renaissance among young listeners. More and more, I find students coming to my university with the same kind of passion for audio that I had at their age. This tracks with Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” studies that show we are in a great era for audio consumption, and audio is what radio has always been about. Today’s podcasts, streaming services, and more are all built on the foundation of decades of radio broadcasting.

A growing number of students come to campus primed to explore their enthusiasm for audio and they quickly discover that their school’s student media outlets are the perfect places to experiment and learn. This is certainly true where I work. At WSOU(FM), the station I manage for Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J., the staff of WSOU has more than doubled in just three years to 150 students, many of them freshmen and sophomores. They don’t see radio as dead. Rather, it is simply part of their 21st century media landscape and diet. They love radio!

This interest in audio isn’t limited to college students. As part of our mission to serve the local community, WSOU has long taken high school students as interns, but we usually hear from just one student per year.

This spring has been different, however. High school students are now actively seeking us out, looking for the chance to learn the craft. These students have done their homework. They know their areas of interest and the kinds of skills they need to develop in order to thrive. It is why they are coming to stations like WSOU for experience and to be mentored. It is not unlike when I was their age and knocked on the door of that local AM station to see what was behind that door and learn. Some of these high school students have been so motivated to learn that they became good enough to go on air as newscasters and sportscasters. That bodes well for their futures, and ours.

Campus stations now often fill the role that the old mom and pop stations did when I was a teen and young adult. College stations are the farm team for future radio professionals, but all of us who care about the fate of radio have role to play in developing the next generation. We cannot let folks like Audible, Pandora, Gimlet, Panoply, Google, and Spotify poach our talent by being the ones most welcoming to today’s students.

This is why I encourage all radio stations become more engaged with colleges and universities at all levels, as well as with high school juniors and seniors. It’s important to build relationships that extend well beyond simply taking students as interns. The more that stations and groups are engaged with students, the more likely we will revitalize our programming and cultivate new generations of listeners.

Here are a few suggestions for how commercial and professional noncommercial stations and those that work within them can build stronger relationships with up-and-coming audio talent:

  • Volunteering to critique air checks from students or becoming a mentor to a student
  • Having your PD spend time on your local college or high school campuses to talk with students
  • Giving students an hour or two on your station and challenging them to “come up with something great”
  • Getting your GSM to collaborate with a university’s business school to develop a curriculum that truly prepares students for media sales
  • Using college kids for your high school sports play-by-play
  • Inviting professors, teachers, advisers, student affairs staffers and others to your station
  • Engaging a college or high school kid as a “reverse mentor” for you or your team. It’s a great way to remain current on technological and cultural trends
  • Listening to the student-run stations in your market. You might be surprised and inspired by what you hear

FM took off, in part, because radio let some young, passionate people play around and come up with something new and different that listeners liked and wanted. Radio is better off when there are real partnerships with young adults, where we experiment and create together. This is how we keep young people engaged and excited about radio and audio careers. It’s also what we need to ensure our industry’s survival.

Read this, and other Campus View columns at Radio World.

By | June 1st, 2016|Board Blogs|Comments Off on Board Blog: Students can love radio

Board Blog: How to handle station swag


Jamie Lynn Gilbert, CBI Secretary

Jamie Lynn Gilbert, CBI Secretary

College radio stations, as well as some college television stations, are known for their swag. From artistic T-shirts to coffee mugs to DIY zines and dubbed cassette mixtapes, stations have a lot to offer their audience merchandise-wise. If done correctly, merch can also be a big revenue generator. If done incorrectly, it can be a major headache for all involved. Here are some tips to start or augment a merch department, along with a guide for how to run a merch table at an event.

Decide what to offer

T-shirts are an easy first choice. They can be relatively cheap to produce and have a high markup value. The standard logo on a white or colored shirt will work, but don’t be afraid to mix it up. If you don’t have graphic designers or artists on staff, consider holding a contest for design submissions. Fans will be jazzed to see their work represented and you can offer free T-shirts as compensation. Be sure to have the creator sign a release form for the work.


Remember not everything has to be a Hanes Beefy Tee! If your audience is more into American Apparel then go with a higher quality brand. Yes, it will cost more but you can also charge a higher price for it. Long sleeved shirts, hoodies and tank tops might also have appeal.

When you are ready to expand beyond T-shirts, there are countless options to consider: hats, earplugs, sunglasses, insulated lunch bags, water bottles, you name it. Because it would not be a board blog without a shameless plug, come to CBI’s National Student Electronic Media Convention Oct. 20-22 in Philadelphia (registration is now open!) and check out our moderately famous “Swag Swap” and social where radio, video and multimedia operations from across the country display their best stuff.

Buy a cash box and a receipt book


If you are going to sell station merchandise, you need to keep track of that cash! Buy a cash box and, if possible, keep it stocked with 50, $1 bills. There is nothing worse than having to turn paying customers away because they only have a $20 and you don’t have any change. The cash should not be used for anything else and every time you make a deposit, leave the $50 in the box. You will also need a receipt book. This is primarily for your internal recordkeeping, but sometimes a customer will request a receipt so it helps to have a book with carbonless copies. I personally recommend the Adams brand SC1182 money/rent receipt book. Teach everyone working the merch table how much detail you need on each receipt.

Make a price list

Stickers, buttons, key chains, pens and other swag bought in bulk are typically giveaway items. A good rule is if something cost you more than $2, you should probably sell it to recoup some of the costs. Once you decide what items you are selling and for how much, WRITE IT DOWN! A number of staff might handle your merch sales and you cannot expect them to remember prices. Printed price lists also help cut down on confusion at concerts or other events where talking can be difficult. If you allow staff to purchase some merchandise at a reduced price, write that down too.

Count everything – twice


If you are selling merch at an event, count exactly how many sellable items you are taking. If you have T-shirts, write down how many you have of each size. At the end of the event, count everything again. If you sold two small T-shirts and three mediums for $10 each, that means you should have an extra $50 in your cash box. Having reliable pre- and post-event numbers will save you a great deal of frustration if your merch workers skipped any receipts or didn’t write the size of the T-shirt sold. This will also help you keep accurate count of exactly how much you sold to report as taxable income to your University accounting office.

By | May 4th, 2016|Board Blogs|1 Comment

Board Blog: Planning the NSEMC – How you can help shape it


At most schools, this is a very busy time of year. The same is true for CBI. CBI is now accepting entries for the National Student Production Awards and entry is free with your membership. Non-members pay $65 per entry category. If you are not already a member, you can join now for only $125 per year. In addition to free entries in the awards, you receive discounts on services from Broadcasters General Store and Communication Technologies, networking opportunities, answers to your questions through phone interactions with board members, and discounted convention registration.

Will Robedee, CBI Executive Director

Will Robedee, CBI Executive Director

Speaking of the convention, CBI is busy planning for the 2016 National Student Media Electronic Media Convention which will be in Philadelphia this year, October 20-22 at the Sonesta Hotel. CBI is also taking session proposals. Sessions are all member generated.

How can you contribute? Do you do something well? Perhaps a fundraiser, remote broadcasts, interviews, or teach leadership? Share your success, but be sure to try to find another outlet to do the presentation with you. Why? When you bring more points of view to the presentation, the presentation is almost always more interesting for those in attendance and often you learn in the process as well.

Do you have former students working in the market? Would they be willing to speak for 50 minutes to current students about what it takes to get a job or how to succeed in media? What about professional contacts in the market?

Students often comment about how much value they thought they received from roundtable sessions as most are led by peers. Roundtables have included News Radio and Podcasting, Coverage of DII and DII Sports, Concert Planning, Covering News in a Small Town, Team Building at Small Radio Stations, Promotion and Community Service, Radio Station Managers, Sports for Radio, The Benefits of Converging College Media Outlets, Radio Production, Program Directors, Sports Directors Roundtable, Music Directors Roundtable, Radio News Roundtable, Low-Power FM Roundtable, Promoting the TV Station Roundtable, TV Sports Directors and Managers from D-II and D-III Schools Roundtable, Town/Gown Radio and TV News Director Roundtable, TV/Video Advisers Roundtable, Promotions Roundtable and many more. They happen because you make them happen. CBI needs you to propose your idea. It could be one of the above or a new one.

Roundtables do not need to be moderated by experts on the topic. The job of the moderator is to get the conversation started and to keep the conversation on topic and prevent someone from monopolizing the roundtable.

It takes a lot of work to bring all of these sessions (over 100), to the convention and we do it every year with your help. We also receive more session proposals that we accept, so make sure your session proposal is compelling and will want to make people attend your session. In your session proposal be sure to tell the attendees what they will learn (takeaways).

Session proposals can come from students, advisers, faculty/staff, media professionals, etc. Remember your session proposal should include more than one school and be diverse in other ways as well if possible. Since most sessions are 50 minutes long, this can be difficult, because CBI limits most session to three people, but do your best to be inclusive. CBI does accept proposals for double sessions (one hour and 50 minutes) where it may make sense to have more than three speakers.

CBI wants to make this the best convention yet and maintain our extremely high session approval rating and you can make that happen, have something to add to your resume, and gain additional experience with public speaking.





By | April 20th, 2016|Board Blogs|Comments Off on Board Blog: Planning the NSEMC – How you can help shape it

Board Blog: Presentations aren’t the only way to do more for CBI


If you didn’t know yet, session proposal submissions for the fall CBI convention in Philadelphia are open now. Obviously, presenting at the convention is an excellent way to share information, let people know what’s been working at your school and more.

Jessica Clary, CBI IT Content Director

Jessica Clary, CBI IT Content Director

But what about those of us who feel more comfortable, in the great radio tradition, of being a little more behind-the-scenes? There are plenty of ways to get involved with CBI if session presentations aren’t for you. (I know, they’re not for me either.)

At the convention, an alternative to presenting a session are roundtable sessions. These are, as the name implies, more a time for discussion among attendees, focused on a topic, instead of a standard presentation. It’s a great way to develop an idea and get input. Previous successful roundtables have been done on developing a station code of ethics, audio for video, leadership topics and more — so there is plenty of ground to cover. Students are also welcome, and encouraged, to submit and moderate student-only roundtables, too.

Also at the convention, CBI needs volunteers to help with escorting groups to local media tours, session introductions, the awards presentation, the on-site cybercast, collecting session feedback and other smaller opportunities. If you’re looking to pitch in, but can’t necessarily commit to a huge amount of time, consider some of these opportunities. If you’re interested, let us know!

I decided to get more involved in CBI when I felt like schools like mine needed better representation. I’m a small satellite location (about 2,000 students) and I advise the online-only radio station, as well as the student online news site and quarterly print magazine. I’m the only full-time staff for student media, and I wanted CBI to consider the concerns many one-person-shops like mine could have, especially with so many conventions and organizations each vying for my time, my students and my department’s money. If you’re concerned CBI isn’t representing your concerns, the best way to change that is to get involved yourself. Nobody can specifically represent your unique needs in this group than you can.

That said, I’m looking forward to elections this year, and I’m so glad so many people have thrown their metaphorical hats into the ring.

P.S. Entries are open online for the 2016 CBI National Student Production Awards! Please take some time over the next month with your students to select and enter their outstanding work.

By | April 6th, 2016|Board Blogs|Comments Off on Board Blog: Presentations aren’t the only way to do more for CBI

Board Blog: Spreading Sunshine


Lisa Marshall, CBI Treasurer

Lisa Marshall, CBI Treasurer

WMCO at Muskingum University celebrated Sunshine Week the week of March 13. Planning events with our fellow Orbit Media TV and newspaper groups, along with our chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), we were able to not only celebrate the freedom of information within our local government, but also open our doors to the community.

WelcomeWe hosted an Open House Tuesday, March 15. Student leaders felt it was important to not only expect transparency from those we work with as media organizations, but return that same respect to our campus and community.

Administrators, faculty, staff, students, and local businesses received invitations to attend the Open House. Additionally, we spread the word via the air and social media inviting the public to attend.

NewsroomAttendees first stopped by our WMCO music library, air, and production studios. Guests could see behind the scenes of a radio show, watch our daily 30-minute newscast, and record liners led by our promotions director.

The tour continued into the Orbit Media newsroom where guests saw the process of assembling our weekly paper, The Black & Magenta, and learned about radio underwriting.


The media tour concluded with a stop at the Orbit TV control room and studio to learn about producing, chroma key, and directing.

Additional Orbit Media Sunshine Week events included Q&A with our local fire and police chiefs about working with law enforcement, and hosting a local sports alumnus speaker through SPJ’s “Slice ’n’ Dice” program. Students brought their best audio and print samples of sports broadcasts and reporting to receive constructive criticism in a group environment.

By | March 23rd, 2016|Board Blogs|Comments Off on Board Blog: Spreading Sunshine

Board Blog: Start collecting your best work now!


So you’ve been saving your best stuff all year—right?

Warren Kozireski, CBI Immediate Past President

Warren Kozireski, CBI Immediate Past President

In fewer than two months, the deadline to submit your entries in the 15th annual CBI National Student Production Awards arrives. If your operation is like the one I advise, the awards deadline is a last-minute scramble to remember what we thought was good dating back to last summer, find it (a challenge in itself) and download it into the awards submission system.

Don’t let that be you.

Before final papers, final projects and final exams eat into the minimal amount of sleep time you already get, spend a few minutes now to decide and collect all of your elite material.

April is a fine month to submit your award nominations.

That way you don’t forget at the last minute about that great PSA or DJ shift or news/sports report that will generate you the even-greater resume line of “National Finalist for Best in Category in the CBI National Student Production Awards.”

If you’re new to CBI, click on the Awards link on the website to listen/watch last year’s winners (or the last several years) to hear/see what you’re up against.

Picture yourself now standing at the front of the hotel ballroom in Philadelphia. The Awards MC calls out your station as a national finalist. You walk forward in front of hundreds to accept your award with the wonderfully designed CBI logo.

That will look fantastic on your Facebook page and mom will be so proud.

By | March 9th, 2016|Board Blogs|Comments Off on Board Blog: Start collecting your best work now!