Entertainment Jobs Q&A – Making the Most of Radio Station Internships

radio station internshipsEvery Friday we do a deep dive into an important question about entertainment jobs. It’s fun for us and we hope very informative for you.

If you have a question you’d like us to help you out with, add it to the comments below or post it on our LinkedIn group (after joining – go ahead, join, it’ll be fun)

This week’s question comes from Kimberly who has been looking for radio station internships for a few weeks and now she needs our help….

The Q:

I’m a sophomore in college and I just spent the last 3 weeks applying for radio station internships on your site. Good news – I got one! I’m super excited but I’m also nervous I’m going to mess it up. Do you have any advice for someone doing their first professional internship?

Kimberly – Oxford, Mississippi

The A:

Kimberly, first off nice work searching through our radio station internships and finding a good match – always glad to hear a success story.

I believe internships are the most important part of your college education. Of course, you’ll take great classes, enjoy incredible parties and create memories of a lifetime…but internships teach you about the real world in a way the classroom (or parties) can’t.

I’ve got three things I want you to be mindful of while on your radio internship, and frankly these apply to anyone on any internship. If you do these things you will be good to go.

1: Have the right attitude. The goal of an internship is two-fold, to learn and to network. Every person you come in contact with is a potential advocate for you down the road when you are looking for paid jobs.

Attitude plays a big role in both networking and learning.

radio station internships

(Photo Courtesy: Kidz Hub)

People that think you are a know-it-all or have a general malaise about you, aren’t going to waste their time teaching you, or be your advocate in the future.

The right attitude means being respectful, listening and asking smart questions. It doesn’t mean being overzealous – you get annoying quick – or being ‘too cool’ or a know-it-all.

A radio host told me once, “When you think you already know all the answers, you stop asking questions and stop being curious. Curiosity doesn’t limit, it just asks another question and absorbs more information.”

Good advice.

2: Take on all challenges. I had an intern tell me once, ‘nah, I’m not doing that’. After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I told him not to bother coming back the next day.

Just to be clear, I didn’t ask him to get me coffee, mop the floors or clean any toilets. I asked him to label tapes for that night’s schedule of incoming feeds. This was routine day one intern work, but he thought he was too good for it.

He lost.

Maybe he went back to his dorm room and told everyone how he ‘stuck it to the man’, but in reality all he did was lose a great opportunity.

Take on all challenges! Some will be mundane, some will be hard and some will be fun – take them all on with the same focus and attention to detail so you make the right impression.

Trust me, hiring managers are looking for consistent, reliable performers.

3: Be proactive instead of passive. Let’s say you really want to be a radio producer someday – your radio station internship is the perfect step, but only if you take the time and get to know the producers. If you spend your entire internship shy and afraid to rock the boat, you will miss opportunities to learn about your dream position.

Tell your intern coordinator what you want – let them know you want to be a producer someday and ask if after you finish your assignments you can get some time helping the producers.

The key here is finishing your given assignments first – you don’t want to give the intern coordinator the impression you are too good for their assignments.

Do you work first, and then look for opportunities to do more targeted work.

4: And last but not least – have a follow up plan. You are only a sophomore – so this is more important than ever – don’t let the connections you build dry up after your internship.

Keep a record of all feedback and tips you received throughout your time at the radio station, now when you reach out via email to a connection you made you can reference something specific.

For example:

“Just wanted to say thank you for teaching me so much during my recent internship. When you advised me on the proper way to edit audio using ProTools, I learned something valuable for my future. I really look forward to talking to you again soon.”

In one simple email, you’ve:

  • shown you appreciated the opportunity and the person’s time
  • proven that you paid attention
  • shown respect for their advice

Deliver this style of message to anyone who impacted you during your internship and you’ll start building a network of contacts that will help you build a future.

Have any other thoughts for Kimberly on radio station internships? Do you have a good story from one of your internship experiences? Add them to the comments below. And if you have any questions we can help you with, well, add them too.

 

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About Brian Clapp

Brian Clapp has worked in the broadcast media for over 14 years as a writer, editor, producer & news director. After beginning his career in Atlanta at CNN/Sports Illustrated, he switched coasts to Seattle to work at Fox Sports Northwest. In 2010, Brian began pursuing a new found passion on the digital media side, launching a successful website and then taking on the role of Director of Content for WorkinSports.com & WorkinEntertainment.com.

Recently Brian has become addicted to Google+ and LinkedIn so add him to your circles and make him a contact. No seriously, you should.

Comments

  1. Regi T. says:

    My dream I am trying to break into the business, audio control board and on-air experienced but trying to get an internship for a person who didn’t major in the field has been difficult. Any suggestions or links for people living Los Angeles?

  2. Regi T. says:

    My dream is to work in sports talk radio. I am trying to break into the business, audio control board and on-air experienced but getting an internship for a person who didn’t major in the field has been difficult. Any suggestions or links for people living in Los Angeles?

    • Regi – keep checking our job board, we have many many opportunities in LA and otherwise. Internships are competitive, consider taking some online classes so that you have some experience hiring managers can look to (look into Lynda.com). Also, check out our sister site WorkinSports.com – if you want to work in sports it is THE place to find sports jobs. – Brian

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