I recently had a student come to my office asking if I would help them put together an aircheck for a potential job. While I am always happy to help our students, the cold hard fact was that this person has neglected many opportunities to work on our campus radio station — no regular air shift — skipped staff meetings — really just on the fringes of what our student broadcast station has to offer. While a mock air check might have gotten this person through an interview, the reality is that opportunities to work on the craft of radio broadcasting have been missed.
No one is born a broadcaster. The simple truth is that necessary skills are developed through the crucible of experience. Overnight air shifts with inaudible drunken song requests, carrying equipment to the station remote broadcast, production opportunities, music selection meetings, quick thinking during an on air interview, or the sheer repetition of the mechanics of a quality air shift — those are the opportunities missed with little to no involvement in student media.
Learning to be a broadcaster is similar to learning to play the violin — it’s going to be squeaky and full of flaws as you begin the learning process. The good news is that you can improve with time and dedication. Your skills will get better. Utilize the space that has been provided to you. Volunteer at every opportunity — on-air, news, sports, production, and promotions. Aircheck yourself and really listen for ways you can improve. Seek advice from those you respect both on your campus and from those working in the industry.
As you develop these skills, in essence, you are fine-tuning your violin. At the same time, you will be increasing in the confidence to take on the next challenge presented to you.
Don’t miss out on this important opportunity.