Confer Radio Talent Institute launches


National-Radio-Talent-SystemThe National Radio Talent System is launching the Confer Radio Talent Institute 7/7 at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania through the sponsorship of lifetime broadcaster Kerby Confer, to help discover, teach and prepare a new generation of radio professionals.

Nineteen students desiring a career in broadcasting, from universities in the region, have been accepted into the Institute. They will be immersed in the program for the next ten days on the campus of Bloomsburg University with all sessions taught by radio professionals.

Confer, a Pennsylvania Radio Hall of Fame inductee, commented, “The quality of the mentor teachers assembled for this ten day radio immersion is amazing. This is just what the industry needs…it’s important…and the digital age is upon us; this couldn’t come at a more opportune time. I’m excited to be able to extend the National Radio Talent System to Pennsylvania and the Northeast United States at Bloomsburg University.”

Dan Vallie founded the National Radio Talent System in 2013 and there are now four Radio Talent Institutes in four states. He commented, “Kerby Confer has always built quality radio stations and companies. He’s always creative, entrepreneurial and visionary. He loves the business, and all of that is evident again in his enthusiasm for the National Radio Talent System through his sponsorship of the Confer Radio Talent Institute. He cares about the future, about young people coming into the industry and, through the Confer Radio Talent Institute, we are continuing to build the talent farm our industry needs”.

All students are in all sessions, including the RAB Radio Marketing Professional Certification program, as well as sessions for on-air, sports, news, promotions, programming and Interactive, with 70% of the students to-date starting their career in radio or related field.

Dr. James Brown, Dean of Bloomsburg University’s College of Liberal Arts, which houses the Mass Communication program, commented, “Bloomsburg University is delighted to be working with Kerby Confer and National Radio Talent System to host the Confer Radio Talent Institute. It’s a unique opportunity for students interested in radio careers, and we expect it to give them an essential leg up in the region. Bloomsburg University is committed to providing students opportunities to apply their classroom knowledge in the professional world, and the Confer Radio Talent Institute will play a key role in this endeavor.”

Marc Rayfield, Senior VP/Market Manager of CBS Philadelphia, leads the opening session today.

Programming and on-air sessions will be led by Pat Paxton, President of Programming of Entercom and Mike O’Donnell, Operations Manager of Entercom Wilkes-Barre; Jay Stevens, Senior VP/Programming, and Colby Colb/VP of Programming, both with Radio One; Chris Oliviero, Executive VP/Programming for CBS; Jon Zellner, Senior VP/Programming, Clear Channel; Ross Brittain, WOGL Philadelphia; Pat Farnack, WCBS NY; RJ Harris, WHP Harrisburg; Rasa Kaye, KYW Philadelphia; John Shomby, Operations Manager, Max Media Norfolk; recently retired programmer Charley Lake; Voice Talent Pat Garrett and others.

Sports sessions are taught by Rob Brooks and Jim Jackson of the Philadelphia Phillies and Flyers. Doc and Andie from 92 XTU in Philadelphia will do their show live from the Institute. Interactive and promotions sessions will be taught by Kelly Wallace, Director of Interactive, Greater Media; Layla

Nielsen, National Director of Integrated Radio Marketing, Radio One; Sara Baggerman, Promotions Director, Entercom Wilkes-Barre.

Teaching the management and sales sessions are Michael Sherry, VP of Sales for Keymarket and Forever Broadcasting, Pittsburgh; Kristin Cantrell, Owner and GM, CapCity Communications, Frankfort, KY; Dave Davies, Market Manager Altoona and Scott Cohagen, General Manger in State College, both from Forever Broadcasting and Gary Fisher, President of Equity Broadcasting, Atlantic City. Kerby Confer wraps up the institute by delivering the final session ten days from now.

The mission of The National Radio Talent System is to create a radio talent farm system (a talent incubator) by placing a Radio Talent Institute on a college campus in every region or state in America so students can attend in their home state, and so radio stations can recruit from their own region of the country, or nationally.

This innovative concept has the broadcast profession, the universities, and the National Radio Talent System working together to find, teach and develop the brightest of the brightest students to bring fresh talent into the industry today in order to prepare the next generation of broadcast leaders for tomorrow. It’s the first program of its kind in the world, and broadcasters agree it is long overdue.

Individual broadcasters, groups or organizations who would like to join the National Radio Talent System in establishing and sponsoring a Radio Talent Institute on a campus in their state and region should contact [email protected].

RBR-TVBR observation: We used to have a similar system in place and it was called college radio. Now, due to lack of interest from students and the lure of a quick buck to sell to organizations which will air NPR, PRI or religious programming, the talent pool is drying up. This is a great idea to offset that phenomenon. It’s not that great talent isn’t out there, they just need to be made aware of the vast opportunities in radio that still exist—including RF engineering, which many State Broadcaster Associations are trying to spread the word about as well.