Guest Blog: Paige, finding your passion on the air
For 6 years I did a guest radio show on a local radio station in Marion, Ohio (WDCM 97.5 FM). Part of the fun of doing the show is that I got to work in the summers with two great teenage girls: Meg and Paige. Paige has a great personality, is completely bubbly and fun, and in addition to loving radio – she loved to read. Each Friday morning on air we would talk about current pop culture news and the things we were reading. She liked Jane Austen. She wondered out loud who would win in a showdown between pirates and ninjas. She really rocked! Today, as our guest blogger, she talks about being a teenager and finding your passion. Paige is now a student at Bowling Green in Ohio studying in communications and radio broadcasting.
|Meg and Paige, radio co-hosts|
How did I end up wanting to be on the radio? I guess it all goes back to my Junior year of high school. My mother was wanting me to “get serious” and figure out what I wanted to do with my life. At that point I truly had no idea what I wanted to do so I was talking to my guidance counselor and after about a fifteen minute conversation with myself, he suggested maybe I should look into a career that involves talking.
At the time I was working part time at a local dry-cleaners and one Saturday, a regular customer came in and asked what I planning to go to college for and I said “welllll…I’m not totally sure yet…but I was kinda sorta thinkin’ about doing something with Radio Broadcasting”. It was then that I ended up with what I thought was the biggest break of my life (and actually, it had been the biggest break in my life to that point). That customer did a weekly show on the community radio station 97.5 WDCM and he suggested that I call in and see if they could use any interns for the summer.
Long(ish) story short, I called and ended up being an intern at the station for the whole summer. And I fell in love with it immediately! All the people were really great and I learned how to record various reports and how to cut and edit everything that I recorded.
After working for a few weeks (or months, when the day started before 6am, everything began to run together a bit) I realized that there were a few topics in particular that I seemed to be able to handle more easily than others and one of those topics happened to be books. I’ve always been a big reader so on Fridays when my now favorite Teen Services Librarian Karen [Editor’s note: I didn’t even have to pay her to say that!] would come on and talk about the happenings at the library I got very excited. Having an outlet to express my love for books was a wonderful experience and I looked forward to it every week.
I continued to intern at the station for my Junior and Senior years, and in the fall of 2009, I headed up to the big city of Bowling Green to attend college for Telecommunications with a focus in Radio Broadcasting. I am currently in my third year at Bowling Green and have been appointed to one of the campus’ radio station executive board, where I am in charge of Pop/Top 40 Music and also any DJ’s that have shows in that genre. I also have a show that will be returning to WFAL falconradio.org called Full Frontal NERDity! on Thursdays from 1 until 3 (shameless plug I know).
|Paige and Weird Al|
While working on my show, I will find a need for various facts and articles that I usually find in the library on campus. Yes sometimes typing it all into Google does the job but when I find a topic that I love to talk about and I think my readers like to hear about I tend to want to go deeper than just some ‘Star Wars vs. Star Trek Fan Page’. When I want the real facts, I’ll spend hours researching a topic. They say there’s an hour of preparation for every fifteen minutes of a radio show. My show is two hours long. I know I know, that seems like ENTIRELY too much time to work on things but it really takes time to put it all together and you really don’t want to start off sounding like a complete and total fool, right? Right. And spending some time at the library helps me to know what I’m talking about so I-at least-sound like I know what I’m talking about (though there’s many times when I truly have no clue–the best DJ’s are great ad-libbers!)
Part of the benefit of working with Paige on air is that we got to talk about library stuff. More than just what we were reading, but what we were doing. And the fact that there was this amazingly cool girl talking about the library, it brought about an air of legitimacy to the library. Working with the radio station was an amazing opportunity; and working with such an amazing teen (who loved to read!) was a joy and a benefit. Keep listening, I am sure we will be hearing a lot from Paige on the air in the coming years.
Karen’s guide to working with your local radio station:
If you have a local radio station, make contact with them and offer to do a weekly show with them. Be open to what they need. Simply talking about books doesn’t necessarily make great radio. So I stayed on top of current news and pop culture tidbits, and then when I found and opening I would swoop in and make that library tie in. Are they talking about J-Lo joining the cast of American Idol? Mention she is on the cover of this week’s People and you can come to the library and browse the magazine collection. Are they talking about The Walking Dead? Be sure and mention all the great zombie titles in your collection. You have to be quick and stay on your toes.
I was really lucky in that our local radio station had great hosts and we had great working relationships. We developed a rhythm, but they always made sure to have a brief segment where we talked specifically about upcoming library programs. All the rest we made up as we went along.
Keep in mind that your local radio station also may be available to do a remote broadcast; this is great if you have a big event coming up. They do sometimes charge a fee to do a remote broadcast, so make sure and get all the details before hand. A remote broadcast is a great idea for a SRC kick-off party, library anniversary celebration, or author event, just to name a few. Be sure to meet with your broadcaster beforehand to discuss when they will do breakaways and arrange a variety of people for them to talk to during your event. If possible, have prize give aways.
Keep in mind:
They are running the show, so get the 411 beforehand. There are things that you can not say and huge fines involved. We all remember what happened with Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl. You don’t want the on air equivalent of a wardrobe malfunction. And you don’t want to offend your hosts.
Talk to your administrators to discuss their rules on that end, too. You want to try and avoid talking politics or anything that will reflect poorly on the library. You don’t have the same freedom that the radio host does. It is really easy when it is just you and the radio host sitting in a room talking to forget the mike is there.
Make sure you have the personality for it. If you are not the right fit, then this is not the right marketing vehicle for you. That’s okay. The radio station hosts will be able to tell right away if it will work or not. Trust them, they know what they are doing.
If you can, try and make it a regularly occurring segment on a regular day of the week at a regular time. If people know when and where to find you, they will tune in.
If they are not open to that immediately, start with baby steps and try a remote broadcast. Also, offer to do research on news bits, etc. Just like everything else, as you build relationships you can build mutually beneficial partnerships.
I want to give a special shout out to Rob Whalen, he rocks, too! Thanks for the amazing opportunity. I miss you lots.
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About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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