Reaching Out To The Next Generation Of Broadcasters
(By Heidi Raphael) In today’s multi-platform world, students have many more choices than ever before in terms of career options in the media industry. How do you attract tomorrow’s generation of broadcasters for your radio station, company or organization?
Here’s a top 10 list of things to consider doing:
- Empower some of your new hires who are fresh out of school to go and speak to students on behalf of your organization. Very often, students will interact more with someone they can relate to. The new employees will be flattered to be asked to represent the company. The Buffalo Broadcasters Association has been extremely successful with this type of “peer to peer” outreach on behalf of the organization.
- Designate an individual to oversee the initiative to form a committee and perform outreach to the department heads and appropriate instructors at local schools.
- Host a fun breakfast or lunch meeting for all involved where you can share the vision of the initiative, as well as provide talking points about your station or company so everyone is on the same page. Ask them to provide a recap on how the visit went. Be sure to follow up with the instructor to get his or her thoughts on how things went and provide suggestions in terms of “lessons learned” from the experience.
- Encourage your station or company evangelists to tell “their story” — why they personally decided to get into the business, what they currently do, and where they see the opportunities. They should also showcase what they have done to get where they are today. It’s all about being real and relatable. What was it like moving away from home for the first time? How long did it take to land a full-time job? These are all real and relevant questions that may be asked.
- Don’t focus solely on colleges and universities for your outreach. Visit the middle and high schools as well as vocational institutes and charter or magnet schools that may have communications programs or related classes. Partner with Boys and Girls Clubs, scouting organizations or other community youth programs to create interesting initiatives that the kids can relate to. Award them a merit badge or certificate from your station upon completion of the program. There may be education grants available, depending on the type of project you create.
- Host a competition asking students to create a podcast on a specific subject. The winner could be featured on your website. If you have a newsroom, create a junior reporter position opportunity or hold a contest for a guest on-air personality. Encourage kids to apply and to submit their work for consideration. Have them interview your on-air talent and behind-the-scenes people about what they do at the radio station.
- Work with a school to come up with a special class project that could be sponsored by your station or company that incorporates radio along with other multiplatform elements. Have them create a survey that asks questions relating to their impressions of radio, how they listen, as well as what would make them listen if they don’t. There may be an opportunity to utilize your HD station for the right opportunity!
- Get to know the instructors at each of the schools and invite them to come to the station. Host a summertime workshop for instructors when they are not in school to learn about the latest technology and offerings available so they are aware and able to stay up-to-date in the classroom. Your seasoned employees can provide incredible experience and insight as speakers for this type of outreach. This may also open up opportunities for them to teach on an adjunct basis at a local school.
- Recognize and thank your team among their peers at work for the great effort they put forth!
- Communicate what you are doing both on an internal and external level via your company intranet, media outreach, and social media. Be sure to also engage the public relations departments of the schools that you work with so they too can spread the word.
This is a great way for stations, companies and state associations to engage students who may become interested in the media industry and to introduce them to the many internship and job opportunities that are available at your station or company.
Heidi Raphael is a broadcasting Corporate Communications and Marketing Specialist. She can be reached at [email protected].