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Board Blog: Celebrate Your Squeaky Violin

Paul Crutcher, CBI Secretary

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.

By | April 19th, 2017|Board Blogs|0 Comments

Board Blog: Pitch in this fall in San Antonio

John Morris, CBI President

We are getting to that time of the school year where everyone seems to be focusing on just one thing: getting to the end of the semester. Hopefully, as you are nearing the end of the school year, you are doing so with success. But as you plan for the last few months of school, be sure to look to the future, especially the CBI National Student Electronic Media Convention in San Antonio in November.

Before you move on to your summer activities make sure that you take advantage of all the opportunities CBI and this convention offer you. One is the chance to be a presenter in one of the workshops. What area of expertise, or just an area where you have learned a lot, can you share with those attending the convention? Once you have the area you want to present in begin reaching out to either professionals or students from other schools to have them join you on a panel. The best panels often have representatives from several different schools and/or professionals so that a variety of viewpoints can be presented.

There are numerous topics that make great sessions. To name just a few: programming (either for a free form station or a station with a single format and a tight playlist), leadership, training new staff, production, news and news reporting, promotions and more. You’ve learned a lot working at your school’s media; share what you’ve learned. When you team up with another student from a different school the knowledge shared can be great.

To do this though you should be reaching out to those students from other schools before everyone heads home for the summer. Use the CBI listserv to reach a large audience as you seek other participants. Think about those students you met at last year’s convention that you thought would be great to share information with. Connect your skill set with theirs and there is a great learning experience for everyone. Ask your faculty advisor to help you. They often will have tips to help you be more successful in setting up a session. If you wait until the summer, it’s going to be very hard to connect with other students.

This is a great way to also add something to your resume. As you begin your professional job search, things on your resume that help separate you from other applicants can often go a long want in helping you land the job offer. It’s a win-win for everyone. You’ll be more involved in the convention, the sessions will be even better than before, and it puts you on a path to success.

 

By | April 5th, 2017|Board Blogs|0 Comments

Board Blog: No Sacred Cows

There’s an old joke that management consultants like to tell:

Greg Weston, CBI Immediate Past President

Q. What are the seven words that will destroy any successful organization?

A: But we’ve always done it that way.

Even student media — with its transient staffs and “underground” ethos – fall prey to the tendency to resist change. It can be very difficult for young people — even the creative, forward thinking ones who tend to populate student media outlets — to drastically alter systems that they’ve been taught. That’s why it’s essential for student media leadership, whether students, faculty or staff, to create an environment where systemic change is not just permitted, but encouraged.

At WPTS Radio, we do an exercise at least once a year called “Sacred Cows.” It’s basically an opportunity for our board of directors to question and challenge the most basic parts of our operation. Beyond that, all directors are reminded throughout the year that they should be examining every process in their departments to make sure they are still represent best practices.

Honestly, after doing this for more than a decade, we don’t make major changes that often. But the process remains vital. It often leads to fixes of smaller problems that make us more efficient and effective. And it creates a culture in which creativity and assessment are respected and expected, which benefits both our media outlets and the students who work in them.

By | March 29th, 2017|Board Blogs|Comments Off on Board Blog: No Sacred Cows

Board Blog: Practice Making Mistakes

In 2nd grade, on a school project for South Carolina history, I misspelled the name of the state of “Georgia.” All of our posters were hung in the hallway, and there was mine, with my teacher’s big red circle around my mistake, for all passers-by to see. Granted, this was a small elementary school in Surfside Beach, so the traffic for my particular error was pretty light. But that doesn’t mean I ever forgot it.

Jessica Clary, CBI IT Content Director

This week, there was a major error in a live television broadcast a lot of people were watching. A movie star was handed an envelope, walked on stage, opened it, and read it, announcing that “La La Land” had won an award, when it actually hadn’t, because the movie star had been handed the wrong envelope. The producers of “La La Land” started acceptance speeches on stage for an award they didn’t win. There was a pause, and an uncomfortable, awkward shuffle,  but finally, the mistake was realized, and rectified, and the team behind “Moonlight” came on stage to accept their award.

What seemed like, and is being treated like, the World’s Biggest Mistake Ever, is actually a teeny little human error. A human person holding a stack of envelopes handed another human person the wrong one. It’s a live TV broadcast. Things go wrong. And the best way to be ready for when things go wrong, is by having things go wrong before.

Imagine you’ve done everything perfect your entire life: Straight As, perfect attendance, always know the answer when you’re called on, etc. And then, something goes wrong. You’re probably going to panic. But imagine if instead, you had some Bs, you got a few tardies, and a few times when you got called on you had to say “Wow, I don’t know.” And you did it, and it didn’t kill you. No panic necessary. “I’ve done this before,” you thought. I’ll make it, come out the other side, and I’ll be better prepared for when the poop hits the fan the next time.

I often refer to student media as a “Fail Lab.” I encourage students to try things when they don’t know the outcome. I always want them to succeed, of course, but when they make a mistake, I want them to have a soft landing. After we try something new, we can see if it worked, and if it didn’t, how to change it, how to make sure we don’t make the same mistakes again. As long as you learn from a mistake, it’s just as valid as a success.

So take advantage of this time, and all your possibilities for a soft landing. If you flub a line, or hit the wrong button at the wrong time now, on your college station, you’re better prepared for the time you do it at your first job, or your tenth job, or when you’re handing an envelope to Warren Beatty.

And, I’ve never misspelled “Georgia” again.

By | March 1st, 2017|Board Blogs|Comments Off on Board Blog: Practice Making Mistakes

Board Blog: Listen to my Mother

Dave Asplund, CBI Vice President

“I make my lists and list my dates” are words I heard mom every time she would have someone ask her how she could juggle working, advocating for special needs children/adults, painting, raising a teen, managing a husband, and being a Minister’s wife. She lived by her lists and had a color coding system in her date book what a given date or event was about. Guess what color her notebooks were for the lists she kept. Yep, the list notebooks matched her color coding system.

I am my mother’s son, and I have a Franklin Covey planner that I use daily.  But this is not a advertisement for Franklin Covey, it is a blog idea I thought of while I filled in the myriad of dates in my planner for the new semester. The entries start with two board meetings, a budget and planning meeting, board of regents meeting, three doctor appointm …  Well you get the picture for my next two weeks.  This blog is about organization and dates.

Organization is the hard part because no two people have the same way to organize.  My mother had her lists, date book, and files she kept.  I have my day planner, the stacks of papers/material I am working on now, and files I have put away for later.  My wife has her day planner, the files of her information, and the Library of Congress.  What works for me leaves my wife shaking her head, and that is why everyone needs to find their own organizational method.  Whether you use the very formal and structured like Franklin Covey’s “Productivity Practice,” The Pomodoro Technique, Order of Importance, David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” method, Seinfeld’s Productivity Secret/ Don’t Break the Chain, the Action Method, or combining some/all of multiple methods to find the best way that works for you it is important to find that method or combo. I was trying to think of a good place to start and the public/college library was my answer until my son said “just Google it, dad” for methods of organization. Just a hint, I used ‘methods of organization’ in the search window.

The dates are easy.  As a student you have dates for assignments, group meetings, class meetings, extracurricular events, school events, work shifts, etc. As a college advisor, instructor, or staff member you have dates for department meetings, work shifts, planning sessions, family stuff, radio/TV stuff, university events, etc.  Any group you belong to has dates, tasks, and things you need to remember. Your college radio or TV station has a list of dates all their own along with things you need to do. The CBI website (askcbi.org) is an excellent place to find the published dates for this year, including Feb. 17, 2017, the date nominations must be received by for the offices of Secretary, Development Director and Student Member on the Board of Directors.

By | January 26th, 2017|Board Blogs|Comments Off on Board Blog: Listen to my Mother

Board Blog: The Umbrella Adviser

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Last spring, I took a graduate course in project management. The textbook talked about the role of the project sponsor, essentially the “cheerleader” for the project, and showed a clip art umbrella labeled project sponsor protecting the project team from rain. The more I looked at the picture, the more I thought it was a perfect symbol to represent my role as a student media adviser.

Jamie Lynn Gilbert, CBI Secretary

Jamie Lynn Gilbert, CBI Treasurer

In many ways, an adviser does serve as an umbrella to “protect” students from harsh conditions. I advocate on behalf of my students to upper administration. I ensure we have insurance on our transmitter. I certify all our concert performers have university-approved contracts and our bills are paid on time. I file FCC ownership reports and place quarterly issues and programs lists in the public file. I have difficult conversations about how to fire staff who aren’t meeting expectations and, if asked, sit in the room during the actual termination to show my support. I help prioritize task lists and serve as institutional memory. Most of all, I’m there for whatever they need.

As I kept looking at that picture, though, I realized that a good adviser also knows when to close that umbrella. Keeping my students in the shade doesn’t allow them to grow. They book their own concert performers. They lead their own staff meetings. They select their own music and write their own news stories. They decide what design to put on a T-shirt and the DJ shift attendance policy. I am more than happy to talk over any decision and offer my advice, but ultimately they have the final say.

Sometimes my students make mistakes. They hire the wrong people who end up quitting mid-semester, they don’t promote an event far enough in advance and it has poor attendance, or they forget to turn on their guest’s microphone. And that’s okay. Sometimes I can see the mistake coming a mile away and just let it happen, because it’s okay to get rained on sometimes.

 

 

By | January 11th, 2017|Board Blogs|Comments Off on Board Blog: The Umbrella Adviser

Board Blog: Radio is Multimedia Now

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“Seven years of college down the drain!” – despite the great quote from Animal House, thankfully I have learned something in college (and it only took four years).

But as my role runs the calendar year, it is time to wrap up my career in college radio, and graduate in the spring. What will I do without radio? Who knows. But after working at WSUM and WLTL for a total of eight years, I’ve learned some key skills in radio that have helped me become a better person.

The biggest thing that I found that was key to a successful radio station was learning that radio is more than just learning about what new album came out – radio is becoming more and more a multimedia outlet.

Evan Boyd, CBI Student Representative

Evan Boyd, CBI Student Representative

At WSUM, the majority of shows are music shows, with different genres and many artists that I’ve never heard of. It is great to hear different perspectives on various genres. As a result, the majority of people on WSUM’s executive staff have music shows and know a lot about music. But radio cannot stop there! Nowadays, a radio station can be expressed online through social media, through video, and through non-music audio.

If you are a radio station that does not fully incorporate social media, now is the time. Have constant updates about events on Facebook, tweet and retweet DJs, and take pictures to put on Instagram and Snapchat. It might even require having a select few on the team to take one platform, or have a social media director.

Video is huge today, especially since everyone can do it with a phone. WSUM has bands to play live on the air, but also video tapes them to be put up on our website. Sit down with a DJ and do a face-to-face interview with them on what they play and why they like radio! Taking advantage of popular trends going on can make good videos. When the Harlem Shake and Mannequin Challenge were popular, it was the perfect time to make a video. These are just some ideas on how to incorporate videos into an audio platform.

It is also important to recognize other platforms of on-air material, like talk shows, sports, news, etc. Some of the best broadcasts WSUM has done is call Wisconsin’s basketball team during March Madness, or be able to do a live broadcast the night of the presidential election. Sure, not everybody likes sports for example, but it does not mean that the top members at the radio station should avoid communicating with those that do.

Podcasting has become increasingly popular. I started a podcast with a friend that works at a different college radio station (shout out to KJHK at Kansas) that is up for an award in Wisconsin. The best part about podcasts is that they can be about anything – favorite artists, new music, or even live shows coming up. The biggest thing with podcasts is sitting down and taking the time to actually doing it – commitment is a key skill to have.

As silly as it sounds, college radio is not a music station, but a radio station – a multimedia outlet. These are some of the ways to make the radio station more than just a group of people who like listening to music. I love music, but I also love sports and video, and was able to bring all of it to a radio station. Coming in with this perspective everyday opens your horizons on how to make the station better in more ways than one. This attitude made my experience in radio the best thing I could have possibly done in high school and college.

 

By | December 28th, 2016|Board Blogs|Comments Off on Board Blog: Radio is Multimedia Now

Board Blog: Our new Secretary goes live

Hello, everyone.

Paul Crutcher, CBI Secretary

My name is Paul Crutcher and I am the Broadcast and Emerging Media Specialist at Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina. I teach two radio production courses here and serve as General Manager for XLR – Lander University Radio. It is a great honor to be elected as interim secretary for the CBI board. I look forward to working with the existing leadership as we continue to champion the cause for college broadcasters.

“Going live” on social media has become a trendy thing to do over the past few months. Luckily, college broadcasters have a head start on the trend.  Maybe you went live the first time you were alone in the radio studio. Your training was over, all of your friends left, and it was just you, a microphone and your audience. Perhaps you went live the first time you were at the anchor desk, IFB in your ear, trying to get in rhythm with the teleprompter operator, reading the opening and first few stories. Maybe you went live directing a newscast or when you conducted an audio interview with a community leader for the first time.

I feel very passionate about protecting college media as a safe place for students to go live expressing creative freedom and developing career-building skills. It is beyond novelty, in my book.  It’s been a great pleasure to see students put in the hard work – those who are dedicated – and see them connect with faculty and staff members, their peers and their listeners or viewers advancing on in the field or other respective careers.

I look forward to working with each of you over the next year.

 

By | December 21st, 2016|Board Blogs|Comments Off on Board Blog: Our new Secretary goes live

Board Blog: Hello, bonjour, and aloha

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Greetings from the new president of CBI.

johnmAs the new president of CBI, please allow me to introduce myself. I’m an instructor of Radio and TV at the University of Southern Indiana and the Faculty Advisor/General Manager of our student radio station, 95.7 Evansville’s Alternative. I’ve been at USI since 1993, but I moved into my current role in 1999. Before that as a professional, I did news, sports and sales at a variety of stations in Indiana, Idaho and Missouri. Radio was an early love of mine. I was one of those people that after visiting a radio station on a sixth grade field trip, I knew what I wanted to do professionally. There’s no doubt that I know how blessed I have been to not only work in radio, but now teach in that same field.

As my term as CBI president begins I enter this opportunity excited, but also with the knowledge that I am becoming part of a team that has done incredible work. It was just a handful of years ago that the future of this great organization was in doubt when the split with CMA/ACP happened. Not only did CBI survive, but in my opinion, it is now a stronger organization and is serving its members better than ever before.

As president, it is my goal to help build on the work that the CBI board has done. But, at the same time, I do have some ideas of how we can continue to move forward. As past-president Greg Weston said at the convention in Philadelphia, we must find a way to get more CBI members to take active roles in the organization. A great example of some already stepping up and doing this is Steven Hames who coordinates our awards competition, Election Commissioner Ed Arke, and Stephen Merrill, our convention cybercast coordinator. It those members that take active roles alongside the board that make the CBI great. Now we need to find more opportunities for those members that want to take on new challenges serving the next generation of electronic media professionals.

A final goal is one that is already a strong driving force of the CBI board, and that is to keep the National Student Electronic Media Conventions exciting, packed with great educational sessions and affordable. It’s that last part, affordability, that will continue to be our challenge as we balance that with great conference locations that are appealing to our members.

By | December 7th, 2016|Board Blogs|Comments Off on Board Blog: Hello, bonjour, and aloha

Board Blog: Goodbye, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu

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Yesterday was my final day as CBI President. After more than five years in office, I’m passing the scepter to the capable hands of John Morris of the University of Southern Indiana. While it’s hard to let go (and, technically, I could have run for re-election), I believe that new leadership is essential to the growth of any organization.

Greg Weston, CBI Immediate Past President

Greg Weston, CBI Immediate Past President

As I look back on my time in office, I am pleased to see that CBI is in much better shape in 2016 than it was in 2011.

Among our recent successes:

  • The creation of the National Student Electronic Media Convention in 2012 has allowed us to serve our members better than ever before, expanded CBI’s visibility in the professional media world and helped us remain on firm financial footing.
  • Our lobbying efforts in areas such as webcasting have allowed our members to affordably take advantage of new ways to reach their audience while ensuring that musicians and songwriters are fairly compensated for their work.
  • Our email (yes, email) listservs remain vibrant and vital, putting the expertise and experience of our membership just a keystroke away from those who need help.
  • Soon-to-be-revealed new initiatives, in collaboration with other student media organizations, will ensure that we can continue to meet our members’ needs in an era of eroding boundaries between print, audio and video media.

What makes these achievements so important is that they are not “mine.” They are the result of the hard work and dedication of many people who share my passion for the success of student electronic media. That means that they can be sustained and built upon, regardless of who holds the title of president.

CBI will continue to grow and I’m excited to be along for the ride.

By | December 1st, 2016|Board Blogs|Comments Off on Board Blog: Goodbye, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu