Bud Walters, Cromwell Communications’ President and recipient of this year’s NAB National Radio Award, is leading the opening session of the 2nd annual KBA WKU Radio Talent Institute as it began 7/21 and goes through 7/30 on the campus of Western Kentucky University.
35 broadcasters from the state and region are teaching sessions over the ten-day Institute, which includes the RAB Radio Marketing Professional Certification course. All students are in every session – there are no breakout sessions – and the sessions include on-air, sports, news, promotions, programming, interactive and social media and all aspects of radio.
Students have to apply to be accepted into the institute and students from all over the state and region are encouraged to apply. To date, students of the KBA WKU Radio Talent Institute have included students from the University of Louisville, Lindsey Wilson College as well as Western Kentucky University. Students from last year’s KBA WKU Radio Talent Institute are now working for Forever Communications, Commonwealth Communications and various markets in Kentucky as well as for NPR and CBS Radio in Houston.
The KBA WKU Radio Talent Institute is sponsored by the Kentucky Broadcasters Association, along with Forever Communications, the Cromwell Group, Commonwealth Broadcasting Corporation, Henson Media, Anderson and Associates, Forcht Broadcasting and Withers Broadcasting Companies. Scholarships are provided by the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters and Western Kentucky University.
Ed Henson of Henson Media, who led a session at last year’s institute and will do the closing session this year, commented, “I was encouraged by the energetic, competent, young people who are excited about careers in radio. We definitely need to help develop young talent with radio and digital abilities to operate our media companies in the future.”
The National Radio Talent System is a system of Radio Talent Institutes on college campuses, which industry veteran Dan Vallie founded in 2013. There are now four Radio Talent Institutes. The inaugural Radio Talent Institute is the Kellar Radio Talent Institute at Appalachian State University in North Carolina; the just completed Confer Radio Talent Institute at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania; the GAB Radio Talent Institute at the University of Georgia and, of course, the KBA WKU Radio Talent Institute in Kentucky.
70% of the students who have completed the Institutes have gotten their first job in radio or a related field and are working for CBS, Clear Channel, Beasley Broadcast Group, Entercom, Greater Media, Forever Communications, RFD TV, CNN, NPR and others.
This concept has the broadcast profession, the universities, and the National Radio Talent System working together to find, teach and develop the brightest of the brightest students to bring fresh talent into the industry today in order to prepare the next generation of broadcast leaders for tomorrow.