By Kathryn Cambrea, Editor in chief
Millennials live on social media. Instant communication and access. The web fosters addiction to its endless void of distractions. But what about other media that precede the web?
More specifically, what about AM radio?
I have written about AM radio before as an assignment for college, learning about its critical role on a local level. I never anticipated that I would actually experience this firsthand.
This summer, I interned at WRCR Radio AM 1700, a local renowned station serving Rockland County. It is here where I discovered the power of radio as a medium which specializes in local news.
Like the community newspaper, radio is personal. Community events, issues, and officials are showcased.
With any medium, people can provide feedback.
But with radio, feedback is part of the show—on the air.
Such feedback truly changed my life.
From my first day interning at WRCR, I spoke on the air. I had the opportunity to not only introduce myself during the “Pete CLEMental Show,” but the next day as well during the “Morning Show with Steve and Jeff,” which has multiple listeners. Peter Clemente, Steve Possell, and Jeff Lewis were about to become critical mentors for me in their own special ways, and I had the whole summer ahead of me to learn this. I even interviewed Steve and Jeff separately during their program and Pete during my own program.
My own program? We’ll get to that.
WRCR’s Director of Business Development, Kerry Potter, outlined a schedule for me in which I would taste multiple facets of the radio station. This meant spending time with Steve and Jeff during the “Morning Show,” attending events, conducting interviews, and even writing newscasts to be played over the air in my voice. It also meant contacting companies for potential advertising and sponsorship opportunities, recording ads in my own voice to be broadcasted over the air, and serving as a board-op during programs like the “Pete CLEMental Show.” I was already overjoyed to have these opportunities. At this point, I even interviewed Steve and Jeff during their show. I never thought I would be able to work on my own show.
Then, Kerry introduced me to a former WRCR intern who returned to WRCR and is actually an alum of the school I currently attend, St. Thomas Aquinas College. Thus, the “John and Kat Show” was born.
Co-hosting a radio show for five weeks served as a great opportunity that I will always remember. It was during this show that I got to talk about current events especially of the unique nature, and moreover, highlight people who have had a positive effect not only on myself, but in the entire community of Rockland County. Also, critical individuals were interviewed who had insight about the status of STAC’s reopening as well as the always and especially pertinent subject of mental health.
As a part of this program, I selected and contacted multiple guests to appear on the show to be interviewed. I planned content and themes for each episode. I shared conversations with someone who is young like myself.
I heard my voice on the air, and others did, too.
I would honestly be lucky if my voice appeared for a few minutes on the air the entire summer. I never envisioned that I would be trusted to co-host a program or that the feedback would be overwhelmingly positive.
Such feedback I heard over the airwaves as I still sat in the station, talking away with my co-host, my lips by the microphone, headphones on my ears. Words of affirmation echoed in my ears not just from family, friends, and teachers after the show, but during it, from callers I had never met before.
Kerry always assured me that I have a “radio voice.” I guess that I am so used to my own voice that I would never consider that possibility. And Peter Clemente of the “Pete CLEMental Show” praised our program, supplying me with more confidence as the weeks ensued. I knew I had to interview him during the final week.
So, what would my takeaways be from my experience this summer?
Radio is here. The power can go out, and the Internet will go down. But the airwaves won’t go down with it. It may be old, but it is reliable.
Listeners are loyal. The WRCR listeners are a family. I smile when I recognize people’s voices on the air. Radio fans, at least at WRCR, are not just restricted to the morning; you are bound to hear their voices return in the afternoon drive.
Most of all, people can hear you and they appreciate you. All summer, especially with the “John and Kat Show,” I prepared extensively and was elated to be there. Yet, to a degree, I always doubted myself. But nonetheless, a mentor of mine called me “a natural.” On the air.
Feedback doesn’t get better than that.