Thursday, April 20, 2006

Interview with Juli Morgan of WCSR AM & FM Hillsdale, MI

How did you get started in radio?

After graduating from the Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts in March of 1996, I almost immediately was given a chance by Cascades Broadcast Company in Jackson, Michigan, where I worked until July of 1998. For about four months, I did a stint at WLEW-AM/FM in Bad Axe where I really improved in on-air ability and digital audio operation.

What type of education did you get in order to do what you currently do in broadcasting?

I completed a nine-month intensive study at Specs Howard in Southfield, Michigan. Until the last eight weeks, I studied both video and audio. I went to the school with the intent of finishing in video, but the last eight weeks, I decided to concentrate where my heart was--audio.
How long have you been in broadcasting?
Ten years, minus a six-month hiatus in 1998 when I worked at Bose Corporation in Hillsdale, Michigan.

What is your motivation for being in the field of radio?

Sometimes I wonder that myself! Really, I have stuck with this career field because it has always clicked. Nothing else in my life has ever been so intense yet gratifying. I am gratified in that I can do this job very well when others seem to freak's a nice feeling to have some confidence in your job. I don't always have that confidence, but I am continually encouraged when I overcome a challenge in my work. My motivation is that there is never a day that's the same as the one before. It's always different; there's always a new story to tell at the end of the day!

Could you describe what your job is like?

My job at WCSR in Hillsdale is like the circle of radio life. I do a little bit of everything, and I like it that way. My main job is office & traffic manager where I take care of order entry, billing, logging, and secretarial duties. I am also an on-air personality, operating the main studio for d.j. shifts and special events (like sports) and completing commercial production. I am the webmaster for I also conduct interviews, hiring, and training for most of the new on-air staff that come and go so frequently in small market radio. I am a part-time account executive for the station, selling advertising and all that entails. I also enter all the new music into the station's air computer and back up hard drive and keep the current music file updated by watching the adult contemporary charts from Radio and Records. I'm sure there's more, but that about covers everything you can do in radio besides clean the toilet, and I wouldn't put myself above that if it needs to be done!

What advice would you give someone interested in pursuing a job in radio?

I suggest that they research the career in its entirety. Nowadays, with satellite feeds and voice tracking, a lot of the larger market stations that could afford to pay you more are opting for these less expensive methods. This really limits the job market, so you need to know the dynamics between small, medium, and large market stations. A good education has given me an edge, but my experience in the field is what has made the difference. If you don't have a good training experience in your first few jobs, you will be clueless in the real world. I can't speak highly enough of my education at Specs, however I saw many classmates not get out of it what they could have. At Specs, you get what you put into the program. I put in 110% and learned a lot that has to this day been my foundation. I still have all my notes and class materials to share with my trainees if the need arises.

What do you think of the current state of radio?

I am disappointed with the disconnection many corporations have caused stations to have. The almighty dollar has been put in front of caring for the well-being of the listener. Local personalities and information have been put on the backburner and replaced by satellite feeds or voice tracking done by production companies and freelance talent. I think that's why I have always stayed with small market radio; there is a rawness and reality about it. You can be professional yet stay connected with the listener.

What is your opinion of satellite and internet radio?

I think they have their place, and I even enjoy the benefits from time to time. It's taylored to your likes, and most of the time they are commercial-free. But, I also think there is a place for commercial radio stations in the world. Who else is going to tell you about the tornado headed your way or about the factory closing down? Or about what's going on at the fair or where you can meet your favorite personality this weekend?

Thank you for your time Juli


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