By the time I had my fourth season of interns in the mid 90's, I had put together a process to try and manage the chaos. When you have ten plus college students walking around your office you had best find a way to keep them busy, or they'll sit in the top producer’s cubicle and talk his ear off. Each summer in radio we had a wealth of activities that needed attention, and a large staff of newbies always made things easier.
When managing inters there is this dilemma: you want them to get some real world experience, at the same time, you really need them on menial projects. But, having been an intern, I learned that you got out of it internship, what you put into it.
I spent two years working for free at KLUV. No school credit and no income. It was one of the greatest decisions I ever made and one of the greatest opportunities afforded me. I was told by many that I was out of my mind, but I pressed on. I worked a job as a porter and doing insulation in the summer to pay the bills. I would go to class in the mornings and spend all afternoon at
To me, it was nothing more than an old fashion apprenticeship. I got to hang around successful people, listen, learn and when they let me, I got to do something.
I owe a great debt of gratitude today to Chuck Brinkman for giving me that opportunity. It wasn’t easy. I drove tapes around town and dropped things off. I typed our news and traffic. I sat at remote events for countless hours. I put up with being told to, "You’re just an intern - don’t mess with this."
But there were moments when they let me use the production equipment, sit in the sales meeting, assigned me to write copy, allowed me to use the music software, took me on calls, and included me in meetings with very well-known and successful people. I learned so much, in such a short period of time.
After a couple of years and graduation I had a job at KLUV. I graduated and made minimum wage, but I was working in the industry I had dreamed about and that would soon prepare me for even more.
In 1993, I now had interns and I did everything I could to make their experience better than mine, but still realized, they would get out of it what they put into it.
When you see former interns years later that have become 'stand up' individuals and successful people, you can't help but feel a little proud, even though you may have had very little to do with their success.
I got to spend lunch with one of my first interns at KLTY, Shawn Watwood a few weeks back, and then saw him days later on a TV commercial and in a short film. He is an incredible man, with a powerful personality.
I keep up with John Schuerenburg, who is now traversing the planet and setting the world on fire for Microsoft. But more than that, he is a committed husband and fantastic father to three beautiful kids.
Joy Ollila, who has spent her life caring for others despite the difficult things life, has thrown at her.
My dear friend John Pribble who I met when he interned for us at Al Boenker Insurance has become an incredible entrepreneur and built his own business.
Keith Nagansgast assumed the reins for marketing at KLTY shortly after I left, and built the reach and impact of the station to places it had never been.
Their successes are their own, but it was great to be there with them when they were interns. These are just a few, but what an opportunity to once have been an intern, and to help others during their internships.
I encourage you if a student to go serve someone for free and let knowledge and experience by your paycheck. And, I encourage those of you in business to give someone an opportunity to excel way past you.