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Board Blog: You

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The distinct privilege I have had to serve on the CBI Board as President and Past President ends soon after ten years, and I can tell you this organization is the best in the student media business only because of you.

Warren Kozireski, CBI Immediate Past President

Warren Kozireski, CBI Immediate Past President

You send an application in and are voted to a Board seat and do it for the love of student media despite already being over-committed.

You agree to coordinate a judging panel and help review sometimes 40+ category nominations for the ever-growing annual Awards competition.

You pass on the knowledge you gained from attending the conference to your peers following in your footsteps.

You attend a conference session at 9 a.m. instead of sleeping in.

You help curate one or several national conference sessions one year or every year.

You prepare and delivered one or more conference sessions one year or every year.

You collect and collate the session evaluations so we become better every year.

You arrange the Media Tours wherever our conference destination.

You coordinate or participate in the annual Cybercast.

You oversee the annual Student Media Awards and presentation without a flaw.

You served on the search committee to find our Executive Director.

You contribute your expertise/opinion on the email listserv and the Resources page of the CBI website to any and all who ask.

You provide a great sounding board at the conference for those of us who have no one on our own campus who understands what we do.

You make this happen all year, every year—by and for students. Thank you for allowing me the chance to be a small part of it.

 

By | November 16th, 2016|Board Blogs|Comments Off on Board Blog: You

Board Blog: CBI Board involvement has made me a better, experienced media adviser

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My fellow CBI Board members know I’ve been having a tough time wrapping up my final days as treasurer. While service contributions can be seen by many as mandatory and boring, I could have not asked for a better experience during the last six years with CBI. They’re going to have to push me out the door!

Lisa Marshall, CBI Treasurer

Lisa Marshall, CBI Treasurer

During the last few years of CBI’s positive organizational growth, the board of directors have made it a goal to encourage more CBI adviser involvement within the organization. As our convention reach continues to expand and we are becoming better known across the country, having more volunteers drive our mission can only help CBI’s future. As I exit my term, let me happily offer you reasons why you may want to run for upcoming board positions:

-I feel I’m part of a group making a difference within the world of student electronic media. Student media outlet needs always come first when making any type of organizational decision. I’m proud to stand by that fact—we’re a group who makes group decisions.

-I’ve made new connections within the college and professional media world I wouldn’t have found elsewhere. My network of media contacts has flourished. I now personally know “that person” to call for any given situation that may arise within my own organization.

-Many of my students have joined me along the journey—whether attending the National Student Electronic Media Convention…or as interns designing convention logos, name badges, graphics, postcards, or taking photos. They have learned tangible skills and in turn, sweetened their portfolios. These students have shared my pride for being involved with an organization that fuels college media.

-CBI has made me a better media adviser. One of many examples…I’ve been able to visit fellow board members’ media outlets and see and learn for myself how they operate. This has only improved the operations of my own media organization.

-And, perhaps, most importantly, everyone on the board gets along. What?! Yes, it’s true! I consider my fellow board members not only colleagues, but amazing friends.

Thank you to my undergraduate adviser, and now fellow colleague, Dr. Jeff Harman, who walked into my office in 2010 and encouraged me to run for the CBI Board of Directors. (Advisers never stop advising!) I’m grateful this position gave me the opportunity to get to know and interact with fellow CBI advisers and students. As mentioned in the October NSEMC Philadelphia Membership Meeting, my next step is spearheading our alumni relations network to help CBI graduates better connect with our organization. Kindly follow our LinkedIn alumni group and share the page with your students and peers.

See you in San Antonio!

By | November 2nd, 2016|Board Blogs|Comments Off on Board Blog: CBI Board involvement has made me a better, experienced media adviser

Board Blog: Making College Media More Inclusive

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Jamie Lynn Gilbert, CBI Secretary

Jamie Lynn Gilbert, CBI Secretary

Last year I made a pledge to make my college radio station a more welcoming and inclusive environment for all current and potential students. To help accomplish my goal, I enrolled in a 10-workshop training program through my school called the Equal Opportunity Institute to help develop my diversity skills. I completed a few required workshops and selected others that focused on my individual goal of using more inclusive language to recognize and respect diversity in gender identity and sexual orientation. I learned an incredible amount and want to share some tips to help make your college media outlet a more inclusive environment.

Take diversity training
Reading this list is a start, but to really increase your diversity awareness and make your college media outlet more inclusive you are going to need professional help. If your school offers a program like the Equal Opportunity Institute you should sign up for it. If not, seek out the GLBT Center, Women’s Center, Multicultural Student Affairs and other departments and see what trainings they offer. You don’t need to take all the workshops in one semester, but start identifying the workshops you might need or benefit most from and start there.

Plan diversity training for your staff
While it is important for you as a college media adviser/manager or student leader to understand diversity and inclusion, it is also important to train your staff. Plan a staff training that centers on diversity and ask representatives from campus departments to help. If those resources are more limited, the Poynter Institute’s News University offers some free and low-cost webinars on diversity issues, including Handling Race and Ethnicity and Getting Beyond Stereotypes: Better Disability Journalism. You’ll also want to share the Diversity Style Guide, a project of the Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism at San Francisco State University.

Show your staff diversityWKNCstaffphoto
One of the best things my former boss taught me was to ensure all our marketing material represented a diverse staff. That doesn’t mean making sure the one international or disabled student on your staff is prominently featured in all your fliers, but to ensure that not all your smiling faces look the same. Take the same approach when you are staffing information tables. People will be more inclined to approach your table if they see people who look like them standing behind it.

Actively recruit diverse participants
If everyone on your staff looks the same, you have a problem. The best way to ensure diverse hiring is to have a diverse recruitment pool. Think about how you are advertising for staff recruitment events. Are you putting up some fliers and sending some tweets and that’s it? Consider sending recruitment notices to different departments that serve populations not well represented on your staff. If you wanted more journalism students you would send a notice to the journalism department so if you want more international/female/GLBT/Latinx/etc. students send a notice to the departments and other student groups that serve them. They can’t join your staff if they don’t know you are hiring.

Consider religious holidays when planning events
Most schools already accommodate for major Christian holidays Easter and Christmas, so no staff activities are likely to be scheduled then. Likewise, don’t schedule mandatory staff meetings on major Jewish holidays like Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur when some staff members may need to be with their families or at religious services. Or don’t schedule staff pizza parties during Ramadan, when Muslim students may be fasting from sunrise to sunset.

Cover non-majority groups
People sometimes complain that major news outlets don’t cover stories that appeal to minority audiences or only cover minority groups in a negative way. That doesn’t need to be the case at your college media outlet. Subscribe to as many campus departmental newsletters as you can and share information that positively portrays minority groups and their contributions on campus. Then send students out to cover their stories.

Use non-gendered language
When introducing yourself to a new group of staff members or trainees, provide your gender pronouns and ask them to do the same. This way it gets your staff to think about gender identity and provides staff who may use non-gendered pronouns like they/them/theirs a chance to share their identity once rather than individually dozens of times. Likewise, have your reporters verify gender pronouns when verifying names, titles and other information with sources.

glbtadvocateBe visible
Show your support of diversity and inclusion. Part of my pledge as a NC State GLBT Advocate is to address inappropriate comments, language, jokes and incidents I observe on campus to help maintain an inclusive and welcoming environment. Make sure your staff and visitors are aware that your college media outlet strives to be a welcoming and inclusive space and inappropriate language and behavior will not be tolerated.

 

By | September 7th, 2016|Board Blogs|1 Comment

Board Blog: Is it still 2002 on your website?

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Jessica Clary, CBI IT Content Director

Jessica Clary, CBI IT Content Director

Remember early 1990s websites? Hosted on Geocities or Tripod. Heavy on the animated flames and a funny cartoon of a road worker that says “Under Construction.” A hit counter, with an animated globe showing where visitors are coming from. Maybe even that dancing baby from TV. Ah, the simple times.

Plenty of these design elements made their way to the first social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook, but it’s 2016, and your website needs to be a streamlined, easy-to-navigate ultimate source for your readers, listeners, viewers — for anyone interested. It’s time to drop the outdated and cheesy, and time to give visitors quick and easy access to what they came for.

Here are some things have, and some things to definitely get rid of:

Things to have

  • An easy-to-find “About” page, with things like hours, location, contact information, etc.
  • Fresh content. This can be blogs, news, links, playlist posts, anything, just make sure when someone visits your site, they aren’t seeing the last update was done two years ago.
  • A responsive design for mobile and tablet. Take a look at your analytics page and see how many of your visitors are seeing your page on their phone or tablet. Now, how does your page look and work for them? Remember, things that were fun on your desktop 10 years ago (big Flash animations, music, funny cursors, etc.) don’t work on phones.
  • Social media links. If you have them, don’t be shy about them. But, if you advertise them, make sure they’re current. Don’t send a user to a Twitter that hasn’t been updated in three months.
  • Content hierarchy. Make it easy to see from the front page what’s new, what’s important, what the visitor shouldn’t miss.
  • Calendars, schedules, even a countdown widget is appropriate if you’re gearing up for a big event.
  • Blogs, staff bios and personal touches.

Things you can lose

  • Out-of-style widgets and design elements: tag clouds, Flash animations, anything that requires special plug-ins, anything auto-play, big carousel sliders, splash landing pages. Bevel and emboss text effects, Comic Sans, word art. If you had it on your MySpace, it’s time to let it go.

Glitter Words

  • Heavy images. Especially when you’re being mindful of your users’ time and data plans, don’t make them load a lot of extra stuff just to find your address or hours.
  • Stock photos. Your site should highlight the uniqueness of your media group as only you can. Why use a stock photo when you can snap a high-quality unique image of your actual office, staff or studio?
  • Infinite scrolling. Don’t make it harder for people to find the information they’re looking for.
  • Pop-ups. Even if they’re your own. If people want to sign up for your newsletter, don’t annoy them with a pop-up begging them to do so.

Your website should be unique to your media group and audience, but easy and welcoming to a first-time visitor. Make your content so good people don’t wonder where the dancing baby went. Striking that balance, and getting rid of outdated and annoying features, will freshen up your site for everyone.

Ready to see the best of student media websites in the CBI National Student Production Awards finalists, and finalists in all the other 23 categories, starting next week right here on the CBI website!

By | August 10th, 2016|Board Blogs|Comments Off on Board Blog: Is it still 2002 on your website?

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

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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 | treasurer@askcbi.org.

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

Board Blog: Six Weeks (OR LESS) and Counting

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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

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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 studentrep@askcbi.org.

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

Board Blog: Student media can be part of the solution

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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

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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.

PRIMED
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

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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.

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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

cashbox

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

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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