Paying It Forward

47The picture on the left is of the 2016 KBA WKU RADIO TALENT INSTITUTE class. These twenty-three outstanding students all earned their Radio Marketing Professional (RMP) certification in radio sales from the Radio Advertising Bureau during the ten-day institute.

I began working with Steve Newberry, former NAB Joint Board Chairman and President/CEO of Commonwealth Broadcasting to bring the talent institute to my university in 2012. Our first class would graduate in 2013. The 2016 institute marks my fourth and last one as director at WKU. It truly has been the university activity I’m most proud of.

The whole concept of a radio talent institute was conceived by Dan Vallie and Art Kellar. I wrote more extensively about the program in Radio World and you can read that article here.

Working with Dan Vallie over these past five years has been an incredible experience. No one is more dedicated to “paying it forward” to the next generations than Dan. He has boundless energy and has grown the number of talent institutes in America to five.



Expect more radio industry leaders like Kerby Confer and Ginny Hubbard’s Hubbard Broadcasting along with state broadcast associations like the Kentucky Broadcasters Association and the Georgia Association of Broadcasters to sponsor even more locations in the years ahead.

Some of the industry professionals that presented at this year’s institute in Kentucky were Kristin Cantrell-owner/CEO of CapCities Communications and Seven Mountains Media, Mike Keith-the voice of the Tennessee Titans, Christine Hillard-President/COO of Forever Communications, Steve Newberry-President/CEO of Commonwealth Broadcasting, John Ivey-Senior Vice President of Programming iHeartMedia and Program Director of KIIS-FM in Los Angeles, Don Anthony-Publisher, Morning Mouth & Jockline, Creator & Host of Morning Show Boot Camp and Founder & President of Talent Masters, Gary Moore-Air Talent at KLOS in Los Angeles, Bryan Sargent, PM Drive Air Talent at Mix 92.9 in Nashville, John Shomby-Director of Programming at NASH-FM & Charlie Cook-VP/Country at Cumulus Media, Lynn Martin-President of LM Communications, Terry Forcht-Founder, Chairman & CEO of the Forcht Group of Kentucky (a company with 2,400 employees) along with the Presidents of both the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters, Whit Adamson and the Kentucky Broadcasters Association, Henry Lackey.

Thirty-six professional radio broadcasters, two of whom have been awarded the National Radio Award – the highest honor bestowed on a radio broadcaster – by the National Association of Broadcasters shared their passion and performance knowledge.

Every student that has gone through the program has told me it has been the best ten-days of their life and as the director these past four years; I know it has been for me as well.

If you know a student that wants to get into broadcasting, point them in the direction of the National Radio Talent System website  for more information, applications forms, scholarships and the dates/location of the institute nearest to them. Students who apply are thoroughly vetted for acceptance in the program.

Broadcasters looking for air talent, sales talent; digital and video talent should also go to the National Radio Talent System website for a complete listing of graduates that have gone through the program. There they will find each student’s bio and a sample of their on-air work.

I know Dan Vallie is already hard at work on the 2017 radio talent institutes. The radio industry is truly fortunate to have someone of Dan’s vision and action in establishing this innovative radio talent farm system for broadcasters.


Dan Vallie


Filed under Education, Mentor, Radio, Sales, Uncategorized

4 responses to “Paying It Forward

  1. Radio needs fresh air, right now and in the future. Developing new talent offers great service and a real Life Skill. Consolidation, Syndication & Automation harmed development. HD could have been an excellent incubator but it started with all show and no go; maybe there’s still a spark. College radio, course credit internships and The Dan Valle-Dick Taylor Training Mission are to be admired along with all who help and nurture new broadcasters and new ideas. Thank those who started you and encourage positive culture and curation to strengthen radio’s future. Clark Smidt

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Robert

    I am curious about the state of broadcasters. Right now, the major syndicated stations have the same radio personalities on air. Rush, Hannity, Stephanie, Alan Combs, etc. It is impossible for any new broadcasters to go on-air because station owners fear loss of revenue. Would you take a chance with broadcaster X when you have a proven personality like Rush who draws in viewers? It’s a shame though because I am quite bored with listening to the same people over the years. We new new blood and new personalities on the air.


    • Hi Robert,

      Thanks for stopping by my blog.

      A survey on radio I did in Kentucky showed that many broadcasters were planning to dial back the syndicated programming and increase the local programming.

      I also am seeing one of our local TV stations replacing syndicated programming with local originated programming.

      These trends may be early yet, but it appears that station owners are moving in that direction.

      The best way to think about it, is a pendulum that swings back and forth between local and syndication. I think the apex of syndication is over.


      • Robert

        Hi Dick,
        I’m in California and the group that dominates our radio waves is IHeart. It’s as if they have a monopoly here. Sad thing is that no matter where you go in California, the talk shows are dominated by syndicated hosts.
        Now, one exception is KGO AM 810 which has had several independent broadcasters. BUT and I mean BUT, those new people have not lasted long(year or less) and have been replaced either by syndicated shows or other new broadcasters (whom may not last long as well). Maybe its different in other states, I don’t know. Hopefully some of your other readers can chime in and let us know.
        What I see happening though, is the monopolization of the radio market by groups like IHeart throughout the entire USA. If that happens, it could mean the death of broadcasters as we know it. Its a shame.
        I miss the good old days!


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