We had a major snowstorm come through Connecticut yesterday. I’ve been watching a house for a couple of my friends while they are away on vacation. They asked me to take a couple of pictures to e-mail them. I didn’t have my DSR camera with me, so I snapped a couple of pictures with my iPhone. I wasn’t going for anything “artsy.” But this one struck me. Sometimes the best pictures happen by mistake.
Just a quick ponderable today. Apple is no longer marketing the hard drive/click wheel iPod, though it is still for sale. While glancing at my iPhone, I happened to notice they still use the click wheel icon on the iPhone screen, as well as the iPod Touch (see photo).
Just curious as to why a company as obsessed with marketing as Apple is, why wouldn’t they have changed this graphic to reflect the direction they are moving? After all, they updated the iTunes icon on the Mac to reflect the changing times.
I recently came across a discussion on the Connecticut Board of Radio-Info calling internships into question. Why should radio stations not pay interns? This is, of course, relevant to other industries. But I’m going to stick with radio here for the most part.
A little of my history… I got into radio at the age of 24, which is actually kind of late to get started in the industry. I was a student at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven. I was a part of the college radio station, WOWL, and absolutely fell in love with radio. Part of my curriculum as a Communications major was that I had to do an internship. There were 2 major radio stations in the area… WPLR (99 Rock), which was a rock station, and WKCI (KC 101) which was a CHR. I always preferred rock, so the natural inclination would have been to go to WPLR. However, I knew a number of people who interned at both stations, and the folks that went to WKCI seemed to always get hired out of their internship, while WPLR gave them a handshake and sent them on their way (for the most part). So I gritted my teeth and went to ‘KCI. And 3 months after I started interning, I got hired part-time to run the board for the “Rick Dees Weekly Top 40”. After that, they started giving me weekend airshifts, and I eventually got hired as the Full-Time Assistant Promotions Director. And it happened because I worked hard in the internship. When I wasn’t at school, I spent my time at the radio station. Doing anything I could to learn what was going on. Since then, I have worked as the Marketing & Promotions Director at stations such as WTIC-AM, WTIC-FM (96.5 TIC), WRKO-AM, WRKI-FM (I-95), and WDBY-FM (Y105). I have also had the good fortune to be an air personality at WKCI-FM, WQGN (Q105), WDAQ-FM (98Q), WTIC-FM, WRKI-FM, and WDAQ-FM.
In order to write this post, I wanted to see what others thought. I conducted a very intense, focused, and expensive survey. OK, I posed the question on my Facebook account and let my friends comment.
To begin with, interns receive college credit for their internship. Essentially, it’s a class. You don’t sit through a history class in college and collect a paycheck at the end of the hour. Interns are going to their radio station to learn about the business and whether or not they even want to get into radio as a career. Anne said, “I loved my internship at WPLR.. was there for 4 years,
learned all kinds of good things… like I didn’t want to work in commercial radio! Very valuable information when your still in college trying to figure things out!”
And Gina points out that, “My college internship at Z100 in NYC was a fabulous experience, both professionally and personally. I lived with a cousin and his family for the summer. This type of experience forces you to be resourceful, responsible and teaches the value of hard work. Too many young people today expect everything to be handed to them…entitled to be compensated for merely existing! There’s no need for a person who’s not even left college with a degree yet to be paid…they have no experience to hang thier hat on and they are there to LEARN, not to be paid. Payment comes when you’ve earned a hired position there. Internships are a great way to get there.”
The problem becomes that people view interns as unpaid labor. I suppose, in a sense, that it is. I know that when I was running internship programs, I completely depended on them. But, again… college credit. They have to be there AS IF IT WERE A CLASS. And when the time came that I needed to hire a new staff person, guess who I hired! Think about it… wouldn’t you rather hire someone that you already know than someone from the outside? When I was at Cumulus in Danbury, I probably hired 50% of my promotions interns into part-time promotion coordinator positions. My Program Director would also hire them as part-time board operators and personalities. Not bad for your first real radio job! Greg mentioned, “Unpaid internships are like getting a clunker for your first car – you need to be humbled before moving on to better things.” It’s true! I’ve seen too many people walk into my radio stations thinking that they could do (and deserved to do) whatever they wanted!
The first rule of radio is that you’re not nearly as good as you think you are. The second rule is that commercial radio is NOT anything like college radio. Do you think you’re going to come in, start off in Afternoon Drive, and get to play whatever you want? Think again… You’re most likely going to start off in the promotions department, helping us to set up remote broadcasts, hanging banners, giving out prizes, and LEARNING TO TALK TO THE PUBLIC! You see… it’s more than just hanging banners. You need to get out and learn who the listeners are. The station is more about them than it is about you. Why are they fans? What do THEY want to hear? What do THEY want the radio station to be? After that process, you may get the chance to run the board for a syndicated show or get a weekend overnight shift (some stations still put people on at 3am), and for that… you will be paid. Probably minimum wage, but paid, nonetheless.
Wherever I worked, internships were primarily in the promotions department. Simply, it’s the place that needs the most help. Unfortunately, in this day and age with automation, there is not really anything for an intern to do in the studio. I would encourage them to go into the studio (with the DJs permission) and just sit there and absorb. Todd made an intersting comment, “I believe a good internship allows for the intern to embrace the roles that peak their interests and shape their long term credibility. They should also be allowed to avoid what disinterests them. For instance an aspiring radio news reporter intern should NOT be assigned to assist the sales department. Chances are this model of freedom could only exist if the intern is NOT on the payroll. Once you are compensated by someone else, you are under an obligation to meet their requirements and expectations” I actually don’t agree with this. A good internship is going to give the intern a well-rounded vision of what goes on. Maybe they thought they were interested in news, but after getting exposed to the sales department, maybe they would decide that perhaps that is the direction that they want to go. The cool thing about interning in promotions, is that it is one of the only dpeartment that interacts with every other department in the station.
Most radio companies require that that the internship exchange for school credit. Therefore it’s NOT illegal because the student is actually receiving something. As Samantha points out, “If interns are getting college credit or trade school credit, they don’t need to be paid and that should be legal. But if you are hiring an “intern” and not requiring that they are getting credit, the company should pay at least minimum wage or else it is free labor. Too many companies are trying to save money by eliminating paying positions in favor of having interns do the work.” I actually see both sides of this argument. When I was running the internship program at Cumulus in Danbury, I was allowed to hire interns who were NOT doing it for credit. And the simple fact is that they were, for the most part, better interns. These were the people that wanted to do it because they loved radio and wanted to get their foot in. Interns doing it for credit were sometimes there only because it was a “blow-off” class.
Kirk feels that interns should be paid based on what they do, “It depends on the quality of the program too. Most of what I did was marketing, not broadcasting. No one asked to hear a sample hour of me on cassette or explained a format clock to me. That all happened at WXCI in college. My coop was at WTXX (a television station) in Prospect and that was much more hands-on. The GM and I had to meet every week to see what I was doing. That never happened at RKI. So, I should have been compensated at the “I” but not at TXX.” This raises a good point… my question for Kirk would be did he ask anyone to listen to an aircheck or ask to have clocks explained? He may have… I didn’t know him at the time. But to get the most out of an internship, the person has to ask. You will only get out of it what you put in. If you show the Program Director that you are interested in these things, I’m sure he/she will go out of the way to help. Corey, who is a chef and not in radio (but certainly knows about it second hand because he is my brother) mentioned “For my industry, I think a short unpaid stage is OK…but not a full internship….with this said…once hired, it is the Chef’s responsibility to train you for your station…the other stuff you want to learn….that’s up to you to make yourself available and pay attention too.”
Kirk takes a different point of view than me… “It really depends on the internship. College students should be paid a stipend. Back in the 80’s, I Interned for I-95 (WRKI). I mostly drove all over Fairfield County delivering I-95 Gazettes to advertisers without being compensated for gas and mileage. I accepted this because I knew that it was an opportunity. Bruce Goldsen and I did a Remote at the New Milford Burger King once and I did the Oyster Fest. What I got out of it was some concert tickets and T-shirts, Bart Gannon would let me fool around in the Prod Room while he was on the air. What I learned is that there was no way that I’d be on the air without experience; which is why I enrolled at WestConn for WXCI.” I don’t believe they should be paid a stipend. I DO believe that hey should be reimbursed for expenses such as gas. Or better… they should be allowed to drive the station vehicles. Get the logo out on the streets! But some insurance companies don’t allow it because technically, an intern is not an employee. When I was with I-95, interns WERE allowed to drive the station vehicles.
And then there is the question of the fact that owners are laying off people by the thousands. If they are not paying the experienced, why would they pay the people trying to learn? As Andrea says, “If radio stations have to pay for interns there won’t be any. Radio stations are too cheap to even keep seasoned part-timers on staff, do you really think they would shell out any cash for someone with NO experience?”
I think what it comes down to is whether or not you really want to break into the business. If the person is trying to learn the industry, there is no better way to do it then through an internship… whether it’s paid or unpaid. Like I said before, if you are doing it for credit, it’s a college class. I also believe that if you are doing it as a “volunteer” (not for credit), it’s your choice. I volunteer for the American Cancer Society handling publicity for a local Relay For Life. Should I start insisting that the Cancer Society pay me? Of course not! I do it for personal reasons, and truthfully, for professional reasons, as well. I have been very open in that the Cancer Society is an organization that I would someday like to work for. My hope is that they would take my work as a volunteer into consideration when deciding whether to hire me. If a radio station hires an intern for credit, it’s not illegal. And if they hire a volunteer, I don’t think it should be considered illegal. That person is doing it for a chance to gain experience in an industry that they might have no hope of breaking into otherwise. And besides, they are getting all kinds of perks like concert tickets and t-shirts!
… And I’m not very happy about it. It looks like my original 8gb iPhone is obsolete.
Last week, Apple announced OS4 for the iPhone. It looks really cool. There are going to be well over 1,500 new APIs for developers and over 100 new features for users, including Folders (which allows you to group like applications together), an integrated e-mail inbox, multi-tasking, which people have been clamoring for since the iPhone came out less than 3 years ago.
Another interesting feature is iAd. iAd is Apple’s answer to Google AdSense. iAd will allow developers to sell advertising within their apps. I know that most people are going to complain bout advertising. What you have to realize is most of the apps for the iPhone are either free or very low-cost. Selling advertising is a way for developers to make some money and keep their apps at hat low price point. During Apple’s demo of iAd, they mocked up some potential ads. If you click on smal banner within the app, it will take you to a interactive ad site which could show the sponsor’s information, could potentially have games, or links t other sites. And it all happens within the app instead of the browser. quick click on the “x” will close the ad and bring you right back to the app. As a marketing person, I’m really curious as to where this advertising platform will go.
After watching the full Keynote that Steve Jobs gave, I, as an Apple fanboy, got very excited. Until Steve announced that not everything sill work unless you have an iPhone 3GS. Most of (not all) the new features will work on the 3G. He didn’t mention anything about the original iPhone (sometimes called the 2G).
Steve has recently taken to personally answering a few e-mails from Apple customers himself, always in very short (2 to 5 word) answers. One of these e-mails recently showed up on TechCrunch:
Is Apple supporting/updating the iPhone 2G in the Future?
Sent from my iPhone
To which Jobs, in his usual style, responded:
Sent from my iPhone
I realize that technology moves at a blindingly fast pace. And I know that at some point Apple would discontinue support for the original iPhone. But here’s the thing… the iPhone isn’t even three years old at this point. I love the aluminum back that my phone has. Frankly, 8GBs is WAY too small for me, but other than that, I love my phone. I am also not working full-time and can’t afford to buy a new phone (let alone the iPad and 27″ iMac that I so desperately want) or the $20 a month increase that I would have to pay for the newer iPhone. So it looks like I will have to stick with my current system or hope that the new OS will handle at least SOME of the new features.
Which iPhone model do you have? Will the new OS encourage you to buy the latest iPhone? Leave a comment below!
There are two bills in congress, H.R. 848 and S.379, that, if passed into law, would levy fees against radio stations for playing music. Wait… WHAT??? Isn’t that one of the things radio is supposed to do? Play music so that people will hear it and then go out and BUY it?
To listen to the record companies and the artists themselves, you would think that radio is stealing their product. Since the dawn of entertainment-based broadcasting, radio has been used as a means to help promote music and artists. You hear the song, like it, and purchase it. Payola was even used as a means to get radio stations to play songs more often because, say it with me… MORE AIRPLAY MEANS MORE SALES!!!
Now that the record companies are having trouble staying financially in the black, they are looking for new streams of revenue. Hey… let’s charge the people that are helping us a fee. Keep in mind, that radio stations ALREADY pay a licensing fee for the music.
Radio is already in enough trouble. The major groups are all starting to file for bankruptcy protection, literally thousands of employees are being laid off, and syndication is becoming more the rule than the exception. Let’s face it… from a financial standpoint, it’s cheaper to have Ryan Seacrest host 100 of your morning shows than to actually pay for 100 morning shows. I’m not saying radio is innocent in all of this. Consolidation has more or less killed the industry. But… that is a different issue. If these bills pass into legislation, even more people will lose their jobs, and the small radio operators will probably disappear altogether. You will see a good majority of stations switch to talk/news/sports formats. In a lot of cases, it will be cheaper to just shut the transmitters down and call it a day. College radio? forget it… it will completely cease to exist.
And of course, the artists themselves are up in arms over this. “How dare radio play my music without compensating me?” Ummm… let’s go back to paragraph #1. Airplay translates into sales. It’s promotion. You provide the content, radio turn that into sales. And NOT just sales of music. We’re talking ticket sales for concerts and merchandise… both multi-billion dollar industries. Bono has been one of the most outspoken performers in support of the tax. And he’s one of the richest people in the galaxy! Click Here to read what the NAB had to say in response to Bono. I certainly understand that Bono does a LOT of charity work. I appreciate that. But if it wasn’t for media airplay from early MTV and radio, U2 wouldn’t be around today and Bono would probably be a bartender in Dublin instead of owning half of the city! Why do you think artists like the Grateful Dead, Phish, and Dave Matthews ENCOURAGE people to record and trade their music? They know that they might lose some music sales, but they are gaining in merchandise and ticket sales. And The Dead have been around in one form or another for almost 50 years! Sounds like they know what they are doing!
The only music you would probably hear on the radio is that of the biggest artists in the world… the U2s, Rolling Stones, Britney Spears… If you were a new artist trying to get heard, it wouldn’t happen. Whatever happened to the thrill of a new artist hearing their song on the radio for the first time?
Yes… the musicians have a right to be paid for their material. I’m not disputing that. But it is the responsibility of the record companies to pay that. NOT the people trying to help them sell more records. If more artists were to examine their contracts BEFORE they signed them, or learned to negotiate better deals, then this wouldn’t be an issue.
And how would radio pay for these fees if passed? Well, other than laying off even more people, advertising. I think that most “casual” listeners of radio would agree that there are too many commercials as it is. I think that a good average would be 12 to 13 commercials per hour split into 3 commercial “stopsets.” If these laws pass, I have no doubt whatsoever that 20 minutes of commercials per hour would become common.
The record companies know they screwed up big-time when they didn’t jump on the digital bandwagon. And now they are trying to make up for lost time. Piracy is rampant and it’s because the music industry DIDN’T see digital music as a viable platform. For the record (no pun intended), my iPod currently has well over 28,000 songs on it, and it fits in my pocket. How many CDs would I need? The music industry needs to learn to embrace new platforms, not just decide to stick with the old ways of doing business. If they did this back in 1997, there would have been more safeguards against music piracy in place BEFORE it became a major issue.
So… back to the original question. Is this tax a form of revere payola? I think the answer is “yes.” even though payola is illegal, record companies embraced it for years as a way to get their artists more “PROMOTION” by getting records more spins on the air. Now they are asking, no… demanding that radio pay them for the right to promote their music.
I would encourage people to take a look at this website… www.noperformancetax.org to get more information.
I had a great time last night. I met my friend, Claudine for dinner and then we went to see James Cameron’s “Avatar.” I think we were probably the last two people in the country who hadn’t seen it yet. We went to a 10pm showing (in 3D, of course) at the Bridgeport, Connecticut Showcase Cinemas, which are owned by National Amusements.
After paying $30 for two tickets, we went into the theater. It was 10:01pm. The movie had already started. I knew we were running a little bit late because dinner ran long. We expected to walk in during previews. Apparently they didn’t do previews. OK… no problem. We were late and missed the very beginning. I accept that.
I loved the movie. Of course the special effects were brilliant. Sigourney Weaver was fantastic. James Horner’s score was beautiful. The story was OK. Did I mention the special effects?
At the end of the movie, they started to roll the end credits. And then about 1 minute into the credits, they just shut down the projector and started cleaning the theater. Um… HELLO!!!!! I was still watching!
I understand that most people don’t stay for the credits. I also understand that it was very late and the movie theater employees wanted to leave. But… I paid $30 to see a movie, and both Claudine and I are the type of people that enjoy staying and reading the credits. I consider it a part of the movie going experience.
So both the Bridgeport Showcase Theater and their parent company, National Amusements will be getting letters from both me and Claudine. I may even write to 20th Century Fox and James Cameron himself if I can find his e-mail address. OK… I’m sure he won’t care. I’m not looking for restitution, my money back, or free movies… I just want someone to know that there are those of us who believe that the ending credits are a part of the movie and we want to see them.
We’ve all seen them… they come out to every remote your station does. They call in constantly on the listener lines. They show up unexpectedly at the radio station at all times of the day. Yes, I’m talking about the crazy P1 stalk… er… listeners.
While I’ve never had one of my own stalkers, I have had the experience of sharing one with the rest of the airstaff. We’ll call her “Linda” for the sake of argument and to protect the guilty.
I was working for a rock station, and “Linda” was a huge fan. She was “39 year old heterosexual female, liked to smoke Marlboro cigarettes, and drink Budweiser Beer.” How do I know this? She put it in the letter that she sent to one of our morning show hosts. I should also mention that the letter wasn’t written on stationery or even on a nice sheet of paper. No… it was written on a series yellow post-it notes that also included a crudely drawn map for said morning host to find her house! “Linda” also sent every single one of our jocks a letter that day. Each one personalized, and written in a different form. Aside from the post-it notes letters arrived written on paper, 3 x 5 cards, and even one written on an envelope. Not all of us received maps to her house, though.
“Linda” also had the habit of showing up at remotes to just hang out. The first time I met her, we were doing a remote at a Quiznos. It was also the day of our annual listener halloween party. She was the first person at the remote and proudly told me that she was coming to the party that night. I had no idea at this point who she was or how I was inviting a world of crazy upon our doorstep. I politely thanked her for listening and wound up giving her a t-shirt. But she stuck around for the entire remote to help us “promote” the radio station, and by that, I mean scare people off! And true to her word, she showed up at the Halloween party that night. In fact, she was the first on line! While we were still setting up! At this point, she had integrated herself into our lives and thought she was one of us.
There was one particular day when I decided to go to one of my favorite delis for lunch. I took one of the station vehicles (get the logo out as much as you can). As I was leaving, I heard someone call my name. I looked up and “Linda” was standing on the porch of the apartment over the deli. I didn’t know until then that that was where she lived. “I saw the van and thought you were coming to visit!” Ummm…. no. Now I can never go to one of my favorite delis ever again!
Coming soon, I will tell you about “Bob”… who is even crazier!
I didn’t watch the VMA’s. But I saw the clip that everyone is talking about. Kanye West had no right to LITERALLY steal Taylor Swift’s moment.
He is seriously no-talent hack who can only stay in the spotlight by trying to upstage others. He can’t sing without a voice-synthesizer.
Now, from what I understand, he is supposed to be the first musical guest on the new Jay Leno Show. If Jay and NBC were smart, they would drop him. Better yet… they shoud REPLACE him with Taylor Swift!
C’mon Jay… DO THE RIGHT THING!!!
NOTE: I have started writing blogs about radio for a new site called Radio Twit. This article was written for that site, but I am posting it here on my personal blog, as well. As I will do for any post I write. please check it out. We are just starting up and it is going to be a great resource for anyone either in radio or interested in radio.
I’ve spent the better part of my career in radio promotions. I’ve worked in small markets (Danbury, CT), large markets (Hartford, CT), and major markets (Boston, MA). The one question that seems to be a constant throughout my career has been, “What exactly do you do?”