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Do Kids Still Dream Of Working In Radio?

May 4, 2016

How times are changing.

I struck up a conversation today with the young man who was checking my groceries.  He was attending Madison Media Institute, and planning to graduate late this year.  I told him his school was formerly Trans –American School of Broadcasting located in Wausau.  He knew about it and also the former owner, Ray Szmanda, who was featured for many years in the Menards commercials.   He asked what I had done with my education and I spoke briefly about my years in radio.

But when I asked if the school still had a radio broadcasting class he looked at me with a far too youthful expression and said, “No, we concentrate on engineering, mixing music, gaming”.

I wanted to tell him how my broadcasting background allowed me to report with the national press for the Mondale/Ferraro presidential campaign rally in ‘84, and then have a similar but even more exhilarating experience with President Reagan in Oshkosh in ’85.  But I could tell there was a vast time span between us and there was no way to really connect as his media experiences and mine are so different.

How people get information, and even what is now termed news, is so different from when I was living my 20-something years.  I am most grateful, however, that I grew up with radio and knew how it felt to be a local on-air broadcaster.

I wonder if there are kids today who lie in bed at night listening to radio signals from far away and ponder how they arrive? Or if there are teenagers who close the bedroom door and use their ‘radio voice’ to deliver the news and introduce music to an imaginary listening audience?

With the changing world of technology and play lists at our commands it might be assumed we have gained so much—but I also know we have lost a great deal, too.

The young man at the store doubtless has media skills for the current era that I will never possess. But I have memories about radio that he will never be able to experience as the world is changing—and changing quickly.

I wonder in 30 years what he will think about when it comes to media?

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