This semester, I have been very lucky to have an internship with Clear Channel Rochester, the local branch of the media conglomerate. Clear Channel owns more than 1,200 radio stations in the United States, including eight in the Rochester market.
I took a bit of an unusual path in getting this internship. Most interns at a radio station are placed in the promotions department, where they work events like club nights or concerts. This sounded fun, but was not necessarily the practical experience I wanted out of an internship in my last semester of college. A business associate of my mother's works at Clear Channel, so I was able to e-mail her to see if it was possible to intern somewhere other than in promotions.
Through her, I was able to set up an internship customized to the type of experience I wanted. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of networking in this way - if I had not utilized this connection, I may not have had the opportunity I have now. The communication department at Geneseo is very flexible as far as internships go, so there are many options to explore.
My days are concentrated in the sales department, though I have spent time with the production, programming and marketing managers as well. I even sat in on several morning shows earlier this semester. Spending time in multiple departments has given me an understanding of the relationship between the various functions of a radio station. There is so much to learn in the radio industry, and I am finally starting to feel familiar with the many terms and programs that others in the office are able to use easily.
In the sales department, I have been paired up with several account executives. Each day spent with an executive is incredibly valuable. Every person has their own style of selling and handles different types of clients depending on their station's format. Watching each executive manage his or her time is interesting since there are so many challenges and tasks that come up over the course of a workday. There is no monotony in radio, which makes each day fun and fast-paced; however, it also makes flexibility imperative.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time thus far at Clear Channel. I feel so fortunate to have an internship where I am able to be hands-on and learn something new every day. Regardless of your major, look into the many internship opportunities on the Geneseo campus and around the Rochester area. In a career setting, what you learn in class literally comes alive. The experience you gain and the relationships you build are worth 10 times more than any classroom lecture.