November 26, 2015

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First Mediaworks

04/11/05 What You Can Do About Our Future
If you want to get a feel for the future of an industry, it's a good idea to see how college students respond to that industry. In my case, I sat on the board of the College Broadcasters Association, and attended its annual convention. I also sat on the board of the Broadcast Education Association, which is composed of the professors who teach broadcast to students. My eyes were opened.

There is no shortage of students who want to enter broadcasting. Unfortunately, the majority are clamoring to break into the talent side of television. Radio broadcasting holds no appeal at most colleges, unless it is seen as a stepping stone to television. What happened?

When I was in high school and college, radio was the soundtrack of my life. Air personalities were engaging, and I was enthralled with the idea of becoming an air personality. Kids were getting into radio in droves. Today, college stations and radio programs are struggling to find interested future radio broadcasters. I'm not sure if radio is overshadowed by the stardom possibilities of television, or if radio is less important to the upcoming generation.

No matter what the origin of the problem is, we as an industry have to fix it. Your station - and you, personally must spend time getting kids interested in radio. Speak at local colleges, explore internships, engage kids in radio as a career. We must each do our own part to ensure a future for our industry.

As a board member of The John Bayliss Broadcast Foundation, I am excited by the foundation's efforts for radio. Under the leadership of former Katz executive Carl Butrum, the program is soaring - and creating renewed interest in radio. Some of that interest is created by offering scholarships to students who study radio; some by underwriting paid internships at radio companies. Bayliss is all radio. In the 19 years since this foundation was created, it has given more than $895,000 dollars to some 300 students. But we need to do more.

I encourage you to contribute to the Bayliss Radio Scholarship. No matter what your role in radio is, you can help make a future for our industry by supporting Bayliss. I'd like to see everyone in the industry give something - even if it's $20, or more if you can. Give up one lunch; slip a check for 20 bucks or more into the envelope included in this magazine, and do your part to help create a future for radio.

Some of us have had wonderful careers, and have done well financially. In all cases, someone helped us at some level by mentoring or coaching. It's time to return the favor. Your help will be appreciated.

(If you're reading a passed-along copy and the envelope is gone, send your donation to The Bayliss Radio Scholarship, POB 51126, Pacific Grove, CA 93950.)

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