There are more similarities than differences
I’m not sure where to start with ‘lessons learned’ during this past academic year because 2014-15 has really been about redefining my advising identity. In some ways, becoming the adviser to a radio station after a career of student newspaper advising feels like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, professionally speaking.
Why the change? My university has navigated the turbulent waters of the four-year, residential campus enrollment reality better than most. But it has still been forced to re-evaluate how it prioritizes budget choices.
So, like others across the nation, we’ve seen our share of belt-tightening. When a colleague announced his retirement last year, we knew immediately that his line wouldn’t be replaced, and the four Musketeers running our digital media department would morph to just three in 2015-16. This meant not only that I’d take on new preps in photography and audio, but that I’d also assume the reigns of our FCC-licensed radio station.
I won’t lie: The change was daunting. I opted to enroll in my colleague’s classes to observe firsthand how he does them. I took notes, went out on shoots, gathered nat sound, geeked out with gear. And I did it right alongside my own students who would sometimes go straight from his class to mine. I learned right alongside them, which reaffirmed for me that learning is indeed a lifelong endeavor.
The new stuff for me this year includes all you would expect in taking over a student radio station for the first time: reading the public file; mastering Audition software; taking on my own weekly show to learn the boards; hiring an executive staff with little understanding of the difference between a production director and a program director. The list is really quite endless. But I think this year’s most important take-away is that regardless of medium, my job doesn’t really change that much. Story is story, and my goal is to encourage my students to tell good ones.
I’ll just be doing that over the air.