Having been in higher education for the past 7 years, I heard a lot about the need for students to be fluent in the STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
A recent study from CSIRO found that STEM skills were indeed important during the period of 2009-2016, but that in the future occupations requiring communication skills will grow the fastest. As our world becomes more technologically enabled, what will keep humans from being replaced by robots will be their ability to connect, communicate, understand and build relationships.
We live in a world where skills change quickly and facts can be Googled from one’s smartphone. In order to be successful in the 21st Century, everyone must be able to work collaboratively and learn to be emotionally intelligent.
Those who possess the skills such as active listening, empathy and teamwork will grow in demand across all work sectors.
While we will still need people with STEM skills going forward, the numbers needed will decline as the work of programming will be done through artificial intelligence by the very machines that need it done.
Jobs requiring a high level of interpersonal and/or problem-solving skills are the ones that can’t be automated.
Radio’s Role in Developing Key Communication Skills
I was working in commercial radio when I was in the 10th grade in high school. What it taught me that school didn’t, was verbal communication skills. Being a radio personality means having to develop public speaking skills and being able to speak extemporaneously.
In radio, you learn how to serve a listener – both over the air, on the phone and on remote broadcasts.
Working in radio brought be closer to the community I lived in. I covered elections, breaking news, births & deaths, and was active in local charities.
Over my high school and college years, my radio work would see me hosting talk shows, buy-sell shows, gathering-writing-&-reporting news, playing Top 40 music, beautiful music, Irish music, Polish music, country music and middle-of-the-road music.
Each radio assignment required different communication skills.
Radio & Education
A quick check of the number of high school radio stations in the United States on Wikipedia shows about 250 currently on the air.
Students who are exposed to radio work as part of their high school education will not only find it to be a fun and exciting experience, they will also be acquiring the very critical communication skills that will help grow personally and professionally.
People who can create exciting, engaging, stimulating and fun radio have what it takes to be successful in life.
Our 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, was called “the great communicator.” President Reagan learned those critical communications skills as a radio broadcaster. First at WOC-AM1420 in Davenport, Iowa.
When WOC consolidated (yes, that kind of thing was happening back in the 1930s too) with WHO, Reagan would go on to recreate Chicago Cubs baseball games.
While doing one of these recreations in 1934, the wire service feeding the play-by-play descriptions of the game went dead. Reagan, knowing that other stations were also broadcasting this game, knew he had to hold his radio audience and would improvise saying hitters on both teams were hitting foul balls off of pitches until the wire was restored.
Radio builds your character in moments like that.
The Mercury Radio Production on CBS, “War of the Worlds,” brought Orson Welles to the attention of Hollywood. One of the aspects Welles brought to the movie industry was his extensive radio experience. In his greatest film masterpiece, “Citizen Kane,” Welles used a combination of live sound with recorded sound to create an almost three-dimensional audio illusion for Charles Foster Kane.
Radio is what inspired Orson Welles to push the aural possibilities of the film medium.
Theater of the Mind
Radio has the ability to take a listener anywhere.
Radio also has the ability to provide the foundation to take the radio performer anywhere as well.
No matter what you want to do with your life, radio will give you the communication skillset to get you there.
8 responses to “Radio Grows Comunication Skills”
Great article. Communication skills are the key, but in another form too….Voicemail! If future graduates want to be hired, please tell them to set up their voicemail properly. If it isn’t set up, or the message says “It’s me” or “you know what to do after the beep” or a goes to automated readout of their number, most prospective employers or clients will not call back. Also followup is the key. I can’t tell you how many prospective students or applicants set up a meeting via phone and NEVER show up, or train for week or two and never show up again. If the job is not for you, state your reason and bow out gracefully. The employer will understand. Just another perspective that is sometimes overlooked, but is very important.
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All excellent advice Damon. Thank You so very much for sharing your thoughts.
A lot of students read this blog and the advice you shared will benefit them greatly. -DT
Dick, my suggestions are:
If you ‘think’ you want to work for “Company X”, do extensive reseRch to learn as much as you can about them: what they do, how & why they are successful, what their employees do, outside of work.
if possible, visit their place of business, research their website online.
Create your ‘resume/application’ on key points iftheir goals & objectives,
This conveys – your work is thorough, you are detail oriented & “you are looking for a career, not just a job. I had 45 successfulyearsin radio & other media. My talents were only “average”, but my drive, perseverance & determinatiin to Be Successful & make my Employer & our business Successful.
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Thank You for adding to the discussion. -DT
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I began working at my home-town radio station at the age of 17, and went on to earn a bachelor’s in Radio-TV, towards the goal of a career in broadcasting. Unfortunately, life has a way of taking funny twists and turns, but my broadcast training and education remains an important asset, decades after I last cracked a microphone.
Less than two years out of college, I was part of a ratings-driven house-cleaning at the radio station where I worked as assistant news director and anchor. Like many young broadcasters, I knew the hazards of the industry, but always figured it would be the “other guy” who got the axe. Suddenly unemployed at the ripe old age of 23, I opted for something with a little more job security, and joined the U.S. Air Force. And to the amazement of my recruiter, I took a pass on auditioning for AFRTS.
So how can broadcast skills help someone far removed from their original career track? At my first duty assignment I learned you could advance to E-4 ahead of schedule by winning “Airman of the Month” and being selected by a unit board. With a strong work ethic, being nominated was no problem. But many nominees ran into trouble with the selection board, appearing flustered or nervous before the panel. With five years of on-air work (including countless remotes), speaking before a group was no problem, and I got that promotion below-the-zone.
A few months later, I learned that the wing commander was looking for a new unit historian. A friend backed out of the job, intimidated by the prospect of generating a 100-page narrative of unit activities four times a year. For me, the job interview was no problem, and the assignment didn’t phase me either, since my communications training had taught me how to write clearly, effectively and on deadline. The historian job got me a slot at Officer Training School and my commission.
At that point, I hoped to become a public affairs officer, or get an officer’s billet with AFRTS. But the Air Force had different ideas. I was selected for intelligence training, and once again, my background in broadcasting and journalism paid off. At intel school, we quickly learned that briefings were our bread-and-butter. As a former journalist, I knew how to gather information, organize and present it in an interesting and succinct manner. After sailing through a presentation in front of a notoriously tough instructor, a classmate tapped me on the shoulder and asked “how did you do that?” It was easy, I replied. I was a Radio-TV major in college.
For the rest of my military career (and in civilian life), the skills I developed as a broadcaster and mass communications student have served me well. The secret, of course, isn’t just what you learn–it’s how you apply it. Effective communications skills can be applied to any work environment, and individuals with them have a leg up on the competition. There’s a reason that employers are still clamoring for new hires who can communicate effectively, and more journalism/mass comm/RTV students need to leverage those skills. The career path won’t always lead to a network anchor job or the executive suite at a media conglomerate, but it’s still amazing how far those “communication skills” will carry you.
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What a wonderful story about your success with a foundation from radio broadcasting Gary.
Thank you for taking the time to share it. -DT
Thank you, Professor DT! Working on-at is a LIFE SKILL. Besides my wonderful children, one of my proudest accomplishments was building WWUH-FM 3kw stereo at the University of Hartford. It was also my first “trade.” Free tuition for 3 years. WWUH 91.3 turns 50, July 13, 2018. http://www.broadcastideas.com
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