Tag: CBIF11

Trip Report #4 – Convention pt. 2

Another long day of  sessions… but no less inspiring.


Eric’s Highlights

Lucas and I went to many of the same sessions with a couple differences. We learned a lot about managing people and meetings as well as some more marketing tips (I learned 100 PR ideas in about 50 minutes). But the most stand out things that I have learned didn’t come from the speakers but from our peers themselves. Many of the sessions would start with a speaker and end up being open forums in which us college broadcasters openly shared ideas and concerns.

In one of these sessions Lucas and I had learned that many stations are going through or have been through a whole lot of the same things that WIDB has gone through. In fact one of the people we heard from quoted almost word for word our history (carrier current, low power FM, lightning strikes, being shot down by administration, streaming), that was really inspiring. It was also interesting to hear from the stations who are going through tough times, like a smaller station who just went streaming and lost their entire staff because their general manager disappeared so now the new GM has to start from scratch.

After hearing all these stories and sitting through all these sessions the main thing that I have learned is to trust in myself and those who I have at the station. We may be learning as we go on but we also are very well off and just need to be confident in what we do. The grass is not always greener, but there is always room to grow.

Lucas’s Highlights

I gotta say, the highlight for me today was finding out how many people are in the same position as us. There is a definite difference between those stations that have their terrestrial signals, and those of us without them.

Frankly, WIDB has it better than we thought we did! But it’s inspiring to hear the stories of students running their stations out of literal closets and backrooms who still have so much hope and remain dedicated, excited broadcasters. So many of us are building our stations out of scrounged leftovers and tiny budgets, it’s just a relief to see we’re not alone. We’ve even met several other stations using the same automation system as us, Radiologik, which is pretty rare, considering how uncommon Macs are in the “professional” broadcast setups. I must’ve talked about my silence alarm, Vidarr,  10 times over the last two days, and it’s so exciting to hear my colleagues say, “Wow, we could really use that!”  I’m missing a lot of business cards now.

The National Student Media Convention has been unbelievably worthwhile. We’ve met some great people, learned some valuable information, and shared some really great stories. Frankly, it should be a requirement that we have a few people at this convention every year. We better have lots next year, it’s in Chicago, that’s like our back yard! I’m counting on y’all at WIDB on this one.

Trip Report #3 – The Convention Floor

What. A. Day. We were  in meetings, roundtables, and seminars from 9 AM to 6 PM, with not a dull moment inbetween.

Where to start?

Highlights for Lucas:

Well, today I sat in on a session about student management, run by Bob Long of WSTB, a high school station. He recommends exactly what I felt when I was GM: you gotta have a structure, communication, and meeting agendas. It seems obvious and silly, but having done meetings without them, I can vouch for how much of a difference it makes. Plus, you gotta keep people encouraged with positive rewards, they work a lot better than reprimands.

I also sat in on a promotions session. Boy am I jealous of those stations with deeper pockets! But here was a fun idea: Station Ping Pong Balls! How did we not think of this at what some might call the party school of Illinois? At least in legend. It’s really key to use any Uni resources you can: press offices for the school might work with you. Make those partnerships, guys back home!

We also had a fairly interesting presentation by Skip Pizzi of the National Association of Broadcasters, about going between streaming and traditional radio. Streaming broadcasting is rapidly growing, but still is nowhere near the listenership levels and revenue of traditional radio. It’s partly due to the cost of listeners… it can cost at least 3 times as much to get streaming listeners currently, but that’s changing. Skip doesn’t see ‘traditional’ radio disappearing, and I agree with him in the short term. But in the long term? Streaming radio will be the only radio in 50 years. We’ll see if I’m still around then. I might have to redact myself. But online radio does have it’s advantages, and we at WIDB know this! We know exactly how many people visit the site, and…well, we’re working on listener stats.

(Edit on Oct 31st: I gotta redact myself a little there. I just have to hold out hope that traditional radio will pull itself out of the rut it’s in right now. There’s something so magical about the ethereal way it works. If we treat the spectrum as it should be – in service, in real art…. it will stay. But will we do it?)

But the best part for me? Today I met a bunch of the CBI leaders today. Candy Walton, previous president who allowed me to conduct my research there was very cordial. I also met with Charles Bailey and Jennifer Waits who I cited in the proposal for my study. Waits is now a writer for a number of publications, and has a side project, Spinning Indie, about independent music and radio. She found some of our stories about WIDB really interesting! We also met one of our nearby neighbors, Sharon Scott, who is the Advisor for WRVU, who recently had their frequency sold out from under them by their sponsoring Universities. Having seen the University oppose us going on air in the past, it was a really interesting discussion. I’ve talked so much today, my mouth is still dry.

Highlights for Eric:

I too went to the management session with Lucas so I won’t really touch on that one. However, for most of the day we had split up to cover more ground so we can bring back more ideas to the station. Most of what I went to dealt with news and marketing, obviously two of the things we are trying to figure out ourselves.

The main news session I went to dealt with covering “breaking news” and it was taught by a student from WSOU as well as a reporter from a news radio station in New York who was very informative. The main things I learned were to keep news casts brief and make/keep contacts because you will never know when they will be helpful. As a radio station we still have a huge role in news, which is really empowering especially given what we have been trying to accomplish recently.

I also sat through a session that dealt with building underwriting for a radio station. This deals with advertisers and how to market yourselves to get folks to invest with your product (either by buying ad space or otherwise). It was all informative and gave good pointers on how to start (or in our case restart) gaining revenue for the station.

Lucas and I also went to an interesting session about dealing with school administration. It was geared more towards print media but we learned that being firm but courteous can go a long way. But that is pretty much my highlights, I have pages of notes and a few doodles to refer back to when we get back to the real world. So far it has been a great time and totally worth going broke for. Check out the pictures and keep coming back for more daily updates from the road. But until then stay classy San Diego Carbondale (and whoever else reads this).



Trip Report #2 – Orlando & First Impressions

We set out from Georgia today to make the rest of the trip. Smooth trip, really, and not a lot to comment on of events. We did notice the swampy-ness of Florida immediately though… those trees with all the moss are just kinda creepy. We also saw a graveyard on the roadside with headstones marked from 1899, and ate some Gator Jerky. We made it to our hotel around 4:20ish, and booked it over to the Convention. (For you see, the Convention hotel was much too expensive for us, so we’re staying a few blocks away at a much cheaper, but still very nice, hotel)

Wow were we in for a sight! The Renaissance at Seaworld is where the National Student Media convention is being held this year, and it is beyond words. We’ll make sure to include some photos tomorrow – we didn’t get many today, since we were running behind. We got to sit in on the tail end of a couple sessions. Lucas sat in on a roundtable of Student Media Advisors, and Eric went to a discussion of using Social Media to promote your radio station. He then drifted over and made some friends at the Native American Student Radio roundtable. Meanwhile, Lucas got a nice little interview for his Research with a college radio advisor. Everybody has been great and friendly so far! This is going to be a lot of fun.

Afterwards, we hit some dinner near the hotel, and went out to a 7-11 to buy some Peanut Butter, Bread, Jelly, and snacks for tomorrow. We ain’t livin the rich life here!

We’ll be a bit quiet today, since we’re so tired. Plus, tomorrow will probably have a MEGA POST.

Have some pictures!


Trip Report #1 – The Road to CBI

Hey Folks! Lucas Here.  Eric and I have had fairly smooth sailing on the way to the National Student Media Convention. Well, there is one exception. As we navigated the Nashville rush hour, Program Director Kyle Fisher called us with a report of the station software acting up. But we got it worked out over hte phone… eventually. Sorry for the troubles! Tennessee and Georgia have some beautiful countryside.  We also found out that in Tennesee, you can buy gas and fireworks at the same spot! Very convenient.

As for music, We started our drive with some Drive By Truckers, and ended up listening to some Red Hot Chili Peppers and Innaway. Oh, and we tuned in to The Blues Experience as John went solo for this show. Eric did a call-in for good times.

So here’s some lessons we learned:

  • How many General Managers does it take to get out of town without forgetting something (Apparently, more than two)
  • Alabama rivals the border of Indiana for Fireworks Enthusiasm
  • Sometimes the GPS is a little behind, and you can end up taking an exit into the center of Atlanta
  • “Don’t eat the worm. Ever.” – Thank you, Mr. Waffle House Cook.
  • There can be up to a 30 second delay between WIDB and your phone on the road, so you can hear you finish your conversation when you hang up.
  • Don’t count Waffle Houses
  • Lucas’s Phone Doesn’t Charge That Way, Apparently
So, if so far has been any kind of average, I think we’re in good shape for the Convention!
Have some photos! Click for slightly bigger!