Kellar Radio Talent Institute Wraps Up Sixth Successful Year
“I thought my heart would stop beating about 20 times from all the excitement…we met the best of the best and I am so excited about my future in the industry.” That comment comes from Amber Marshall, one of the students at this years Kellar Radio Talent Institute.
The Kellar Radio Talent Institute at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, has prepared 17 more talented young broadcasters for the broadcast industry. The sixth year of this innovative program concluded with words of advice and inspiration by Phil Zachary, President and COO, Curtis Media Group, Raleigh, NC.
The students were selected through an application process for the 10-day experience. The first of its kind, the Kellar Radio Talent Institute is an incubator for future radio broadcasters. These students are college Juniors and Seniors who learn from broadcasting industry professionals, who give willingly of their time to come to the campus and teach about the various aspects of the industry, including on-air, programming, sales, promotions/marketing, traffic, copywriting, news, sports, interactive, production, and even ownership.
Twenty-eight industry professionals participated this year. Allen Shaw, President/CEO of Centennial Communications, Clemmons, NC, kicked off this year’s Institute with a motivational talk about getting into the radio industry and becoming an entrepreneur.
As part of the Institute, students are required to take the RAB Sales Training certification course, taught by industry professionals who spoke during the institute. All 17 students passed the RAB exam and earned their RAB Radio Marketing Professional certification. Student Jordan Sapp commented, “The Kellar Radio Talent Institute taught me more about myself as an industry profesional and shed light onto which career path in the radio industry would be best for me.”
The “Two Guys Named Chris” morning show from Rock92, of the Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point market, broadcasted live from the Institute, with the Institute students being the live audience, they could see first hand what is involved in doing a morning show. Afterwards, the Rock92 morning team led a “Show Prep” session with the students.
Guest professional faculty throughout the 10-day Institute included Doug Rice, President and Voice of Performance Racing Network; Mick Mixon, Play-by-Play Announcer for the NFL Carolina Panthers; Scott Lauer, Play-by-Play Announcer for the NBA Charlotte Bobcats. Two group owners taught sessions, Allen Shaw of Centennial Communications based in Clemmons NC and Gary Fisher of Equity Communications, Atlantic City NJ, along with Gary Weiss, Regional Vice President of Radio One, Raleigh; Danny Highsmith, Regional VP, Beasley Broadcast Group; Bruce Wheeler, VP/GM WKZL & Rock 92, Dick Broadcasting, Greensboro/Winston-Salem; Trip Savery, Director of Sales for Greater Media, Charlotte; Alex McTighe, National Sales Manager of Curtis Media, Raleigh.
Program Directors, Operation Managers and Air Talent on the Guest Professional Faculty included John Reynolds, Kiss and K104.7, CBS Charlotte; Jack Daniel and DZL, 106.5 The End, Clear Channel, Charlotte; Carl East and John Hancock, WBT, Greater Media, Charlotte; Tias Schuster, B93.7 and Magic 98.9, Entercom, Greenville/Spartanburg, SC; Jason Goodman and Dave Aiken, WKZL and Rock 92, Dick Broadcasting in Greensboro/Winston-Salem.
Interactive sessions this year were taught by Jonathan Mauney, Director of Interactive for Greater Media in Charlotte and Patrick Sills, Digital Program Director for Clear Channel in Charlotte.
Other sessions included Steve Reynolds of the Reynolds Group, teaching how to develop an on-air style; from Atlanta, Don Anthony of Jockline Daily and Morning Show and Talk Radio Bootcamps on how to get an on-air career started; Keaira Huffman of Entercom in Greenville/Spartanburg SC teaching promotions, and Arroe Collins, Production Director for Clear Channel Charlotte, teaching a high-powered session on writing and production.
Seven out of ten graduates of the program continue to be hired into entry-level positions by top broadcasting companies, including CBS, CNN, Clear Channel, Entercom, Curtis Media, Beasley Broadcast Group, Capitol Broadcasting, and others.
The professional faculty had many positive comments about the program:
“I can’t think of a better program for future radio talent.” stated Scott Lauer, Play-by-Play Announcer for the NBA Charlotte Bobcats. Jonathan Mauney, Director of Interactive for Greater Media Charlotte commented, “Any radio station with openings should look here first if they want the most qualified, well-rounded employees.”
“The Kellar Radio Talent Institute bridges the expansive campus-to-career gap that exists for every graduating student in a way that’s un-replicated.” stated Phil Zachary, President, Curtis Media, Raleigh, NC
Jack Daniel, Clear Channel Charlotte said, “The stuff I had to learn late in my career, like social media and multitasking, come naturally to this generation of students. They are entering the field light years ahead. The training received at the Kellar Radio Talent Institute is second to none.”
Another unique aspect of the Kellar Radio Talent Institute is that each student who successfully completed the program now has the opportunity - any time within the next 10 years - to apply to Appalachian State and the Kellar Radio Talent Institute for $50,000 in seed money for investment in radio broadcast ownership. This opportunity was created by a $500,000 gift from Art Kellar and the Kellar Family Foundation.
“I would do it all over again. The entire experience has made me equally nervous and excited about working in the industry.” said rising senior Jessica Paratore.
Rising junior Patrick Sidlovsky said, “Do it, because you probably won’t find this many high level broadcasters in only one area.”
“It gives you the tools to succeed right now and in the future. I cannot put a money value on this experience.” commented junior Hannah Matton. Rising senior Brittani Fish concluded, “It’s a life-changing experience that should not be missed.”
Dan Vallie, the Director of the Institute and a 42-year broadcast veteran, and Art Kellar, a former broadcast owner, who passed away just prior to the first Kellar Radio Talent Institute, discussed many times over the years the need for young talent in the industry and talked about the need for a “talent farm” being available to all broadcast companies. With support from Art, these discussions and ideas led Dan to the development of the Kellar Radio Talent Institute at Appalachian State University. Over the past five years, 70% of the students who have completed the Institute have started their careers in the broadcast industry or a related field.
Dan commented, “I am continually impressed with and proud of the support of broadcasters that catch the vision of this innovative program and its importance in developing the next and future generations of broadcasters. Simply put, there are great people in this business that want to give back. These professionals and the Institute are bringing to reality what the industry has said it has needed for years, a ‘go to’ place to find young talent with a passion and desire to enter and succeed in radio broadcasting”
To participate or contribute to the Kellar Radio Talent Institute, contact Dan at 828-262-3919 VallieDan@aol.com or 828-262-7621, firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit KellarRadioTalentInstitute@AppState.edu to learn more about the Kellar Radio Talent Institute.
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