A long, long time ago, the way into the radio world was through internships. You could receive experience, college credit, and even pay if you were really lucky. I never got paid for my internships, but I did turn one into a job.
The first station I interned for was WICN, Public Radio for Central New England. I spent one semester there, but I cannot remember much of what I did. It was mostly paperwork at a desk. I fought the urge to nap while listening to the classical music eminating from the on-air studio. Don't get me wrong - I enjoy Beethoven and Bach, but it was hard to stay awake in that environment after spending most of the day in class.
Then, there was WVBF in Boston. I pulled CDs for Sunny Joe White in the evenings. He was allegedly a recovering addict. On my first night there, he handed me a hundred dollar bill to pick up a package for him. I was relieved to find it was his dinner.
I gave up that internship after a short time because I had the opportunity to go to WZLX in Boston. I worked with many talented people: Annalisa, Mike Coleman, Anne Cody, Chuck Nowlin and others. At first, I just called people randomly out of the phonebook to ask them survey questions. Later, I answered the request line, got prize winners, and did promotional events. The best part was being on some morning show bits where I portrayed Chelsea Clinton and Suzanne Somers.
The last internship was at KZOK in Seattle. I spent a few afternoons a week, recording commercials from reels of tape onto carts, which were like 8-track tapes. Within a couple of months, I became the afternoon producer for Steve Slaton. When he was hired as the progam director of the station, he made me his assistant. And I stayed the Assistant Program Director of KZOK until the end of 2008. More about that in another post on another day...