A Summer at Entercom Charlotte

This summer, I was one of four interns at Entercom Charlotte. After four years of being in contact with show host John Hancock and sending emails to Entercom asking for an internship, I was finally given the opportunity...

I do not think it would be appropriate to write on the experience without talking about just how important this industry will probably be to me. When I was about fourteen, I became suddenly very ill and it caused me to basically have to reconsider everything I did. I still am not better… and in many ways I am worse now seven years later. I have always had a passion for performing whether that is music or acting. As I continued to have bad health in high school, it really started to dawn on me that my list of potential careers is very narrow. What career combines my love of performing and my inability to do anything physical? Radio looks promising.

It is not that simple though. In order to perform and be in radio, you actually have to have the talent to do it. Obviously, I am still in the process of finding that part out. But a big question to ask is, would I actually enjoy being in that kind of an environment every week day as a career? This summer absolutely confirmed that I would love this as a career.

This internship, I think, has been more important to me that any class that App State will offer. Being in a studio day after day and being shown how to produce a show has been invaluable. I was able to be hands on with basically everything other than actually hosting a show. Charles Jenkin, the producer of WBT’s Morning News with Bo Thompson, walked me through the process of taking archived audio from the show, cutting it down appropriately, making promos out of the audio, and posting a full length podcast of the audio on the website. I also managed the show’s website page as the show went on by providing up to minute updates which were appropriate with the show’s content. When calls came in, I also screened callers who wanted to be on air and answered questions that they had. It is surprising how many people will call into the studio just to talk to the call screener and not actually want to be on air. It really shows how radio can be important to the community. I love that. All of these experiences with being a producer are super valuable to me for the future. Even though I want to be a show host, it is always good to know what the producer’s job is like. It really is a team environment and it is completely necessary to know what your teammates are doing.

John Moore, George Hazlett, and T.J. Boggs also showed me how to operate their soundboard. The board they are using is about twice as big as the one in WASU… and their job is 500 times more complicated. It was very interesting to see all of the functions that they can do and see how it makes the show better as a whole. Again, knowing what all of the people in the studio are doing is super valuable to the show host. I loved seeing the signals the board operator would give the host in order to keep the flow of the show working well. It certainly is a job that requires good communication.

Bo Thompson and John Hancock were excellent examples of how to prepare for a show and how to keep the show interesting. Both guys are complete professionals and know exactly how to host a great talk show. They were there for me to answer any questions, but I spent a lot of time just sitting, listening, and thinking about all of the things they are doing that makes their show a good one. I really dissected aspects of their show like how to come back from a break and how to keep the show moving going into a break. It is important to maintain momentum to make listeners be willing to stay through a commercial break… where the money is made. After being with them, I redid the clock for my own talk show and am looking to introduce new intro and outro music for every segment of my show. I certainly want to be unique and not copy what they are doing, but these are some essentials that every show needs.

I was not expecting to learn about how to produce a talk show. I am so glad that I did though. Charles Jenkin was very good at showing me everything I needed to know and he was also very quick to throw me into real situations as they arose. After being with the morning show for two weeks, Charles said that I really knew how to do the job and that I could be on the list of substitutes to call when a producer goes on vacation.

I also did not expect to be thrown into the biggest event of the year for the promotions department. The SkyShow is a huge event that Entercom puts on every July 4th, and we interns certainly helped put that together. After literally two weeks of prep… and lots of eating Italian ice to make room for burgers to be put in a freezer, the event was successfully put on. When I got the internship, putting on an event was certainly not on my radar, but it is an integral part of the industry so it was good for me to see. I got two shirts and baseball tickets out of it so I am very happy.

John Hancock and Bo Thompson live at SkyShow

Would I do this internship again? Absolutely. Did WBT's program director Mike Schaefer tell me to call him whenever I need anything and that he would love to have me back in the future? Yes he did. This internship has given me more than I ever thought that it would. Most importantly, it has confirmed that this is absolutely what I want to do. I have had great experiences and I have met some excellent people in the industry. You cannot put a value on all of these things. I am ready to see what the future has in store for me, but for now, I’ll take this experience and try my best to make WASU a better radio station.


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