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Brian Baltosiewich

School of Pod

3-8-12

The Carolina School of Broadcasting is the oldest stand-alone broadcasting school in the United States. The studio doors opened on January 2, 1957, and it's been operating continuously ever since. It goes without saying that the school has seen the radio and television industry change a little. AM to FM, black and white to color, to HD, analog to digital, and rest assured that whatever's next, the CSB will adjust to that, too.

But as Kenneth Fuquay, the man who runs the place told me, the industry isn't the only thing changing. The students are, too. “Interestingly enough,” Fuquay said in an email, “the number of students who contact the school with a dream of working in radio has decreased dramatically over the past ten years.” Translation: Radio doesn't have the same effect on the next generation of talent that it did on us.

Radio's charms are not completely lost on this generation, though, but students who have RF in their blood are few and far between. Those students recognize how the radio industry has changed, and they also recognize their opportunities may be limited. They don't have to look much beyond their instructors to see that.

CSB uses broadcast professionals to teach their curriculum, it's been policy at the school since day one: “Broadcasters training want-to-be broadcasters.” But as one instructor told me, the students notice that the instructors in the radio curriculum tend to be unemployed. To the school's credit, they tackle these questions head on.

“Our Radio students understand that their first job in radio will most likely be part-time.” Fuquay said. “They also have no delusions, their first job most likely will NOT be on-air. They recognize that the competition for those jobs is tougher but they are not afraid of the challenge. In the meantime, they are creating their own brand using the tools provided through the school. They are crafting their trade and creating content.”

Translation: They're preparing for a tough road, and the very real possibility that their own brand will be their currency. Coming out of the Carolina School of Broadcasting, graduates have a well-rounded resume. They will have had their hands on every piece of TV and radio equipment, and at least a rough knowledge of how it all works. They will have been in front of the camera, and the mic, and will be prepared for just about anything- including podcasting, which has gradually worked its way into the CSB curriculum.

“The basic broadcast skill set necessary to podcast is the same as the broadcast skill set needed to work at a local AM or FM station,” Fuquay said, “students  have been introduced to podcasting as an additional avenue in which to utilize their skills.” And like you, and I and everyone else, the CSB has asked the million dollar question.

“Podcasting is a viable training tool for students interested in radio, but it’s not yet a viable employment statistic for us. Carolina School of Broadcasting is held  accountable to its accrediting body and the US Department of Education for two statistics; graduation and placement. We are mandated to meet a minimum placement statistic.”

Here it comes.“Podcasting provides all of the elements necessary to be 'a broadcaster' with the exception of the paycheck. The school is unable, so far, to substantiate  podcasting as a viable employment statistic.” Translation: We haven't figured it out, either. When you do, call us. That reality hasn't stopped CSB from moving forward with strategic podcasting partnerships with a group called The Light Factory (a museum of photography & film,) and a little group called Radio Exiles (full disclosure- Radio Exiles is the operation I'm currently working to steer clear of the rocks.)

Speaking for Radio Exiles, our new partnership with CSB allows us to branch out a bit, and get some production elements we have been lacking, produced by CSB students under the supervision of one of our podcast pros. Some of us will also be teaching some classes, and we will soon be providing a “New Voices” page at Radio Exiles which will feature podcasts from CSB students.

Ken Fuquay sees the partnership as a win-win, and one that will grow as podcasting becomes more main stream. “Radio Exiles adds an element of validity to the area of podcasting that has not existed for the school before,” Fuquay said while I blushed noticeably. “I envision that the partnership will grow, out of that, the curriculum will adapt to those needs and more of our students will see podcasting as an employment track. In the short term, the partnership with Radio Exiles will bring more broadcast professionals into our space and offer our students real-life hands-on training.” Translation: While the number of people who know what the future holds shrinks every day, the number of people working to figure it all out continues to grow.

Get more article from Brian about Podcasting HERE

Brian Baltosiewich has been a broadcast professional for more than 20 years. His podcast website, www.radioexiles.com features professionally-produced podcasts from radio pro’s who have lost their gigs.
Reach out to him at brian@radioexiles.com or through their twitter account @radioexiles.


 
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