Two days before spring break, I set off on one of the best trips of my life. I traveled for what seemed like days (10 hours) on a train with a group of people who would become some of my closest friends. New York City was overwhelming to a girl whose 19 years in Pittsburgh gave her only a vague idea of what city life was all about.
As the assistant underwriting director for Gannon’s 90.5 WERG, I was honored to be among the seven people representing Gannon at the Intercollegiate Broadcasting Systems Conference (IBS) in the Hotel Pennsylvania of Times Square. We attended radio-based seminars that focused on how to write a radio drama, web design, online radio, management boot camp, underwriting and a whole menagerie of station-building talks. As my colleagues and I sat down together for lunch on our first day, we all seemed to be singing the same tune. We gathered from our own experiences that, as a station, WERG was far ahead in the college radio game than we had even entertained.
We were among many colleges, like Syracuse, Case Western and Point Park. We came in expecting to learn much more than we were taught, but it turned into quite the opposite. We learned many new things and gained a lot from the experience – no surprise – but we ended up teaching other stations new concepts. We scored a few opportunities with professionals in attendance, and we undoubtedly made a pretty big name for ourselves.
Basically, I could write an endless article on all our crazy hilarious experiences – the Broadway shows, the places we saw, the countless good times – but what really stood out to me was the collective realization that Gannon is much farther along than we give ourselves credit for.
This trip taught me many things about myself, radio, New Yorkers and the opportunities that come our way as soon as we are presented with a change of scenery. Most importantly, this trip answered a question that I had always considered in my two years at Gannon. I learned that the size of your school does not matter. You can find yourself in a booming organization in one of the seemingly smallest corners of the nation – say, in a city like Erie.