Rowan University senior Landon Jones did all the right things while in college to give him experience in his dream field, the radio industry. He has been an active member of Rowan Radio for a few years, and he also completed a summer internship at New Jersey radio station, 100.1 WJRZ. Yet, like many other students struggling to get their “foot in the door”, he is set to graduate college at the end of December without a job.
“The biggest difficulty is that there are so many people trying to get a job in this industry but there aren’t enough places to work,” he says, “Basically, there are tons of people in the swimming pool, but the pool isn’t big enough to hold all of them.”
A huge part of the problem is that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) limits the airwaves, meaning no frequencies can be added or dropped. No new stations will ever be created or built, which in turn causes so many aspiring radio professionals to become discouraged that they will ever make it in the business.
However, it is important to always stay determined even when times are tough. “Do not stop applying,” advises Rowan Radio Interim Station Manager, Derek Jones, “Students, especially recent college graduates, get very discouraged when they don’t get the job that they want. You just have to keep going at it, whether it takes one month or two years.”
This same mindset also applies when trying to land the perfect internship. While an internship may not always guarantee you a job, getting paid or unpaid work experience while still in college can help sharpen your professional skills and give you a leg up on the competition. “I know for me, it opened up so many more doors and the networking side of it is phenomenal,” says Landon Jones.
Luckily, one aspect of radio that is becoming more significant and creating thousands of jobs is multimedia. Media research company BIA/Kelsey even predicts that by 2017, radio’s online revenue growth will reach nearly one billion dollars. “The internet has completely exploded at this point in time,” Derek Jones says, “There are more nontraditional jobs out there now than just basic radio/TV/film stuff, with web design, web content, and online media becoming a massive part of the industry.”
Photo Credit: BIA/Kelsey
Although the business itself might be changing, the only way to get that big break remains the same: it’s all about who know you know. “It’s a small world in radio,” says Landon Jones, “Everyone knows each other amongst companies and separate stations.”
For being as difficult as it is to work in radio, Landon Jones doesn’t forget about what’s most important when choosing a career path, “A lot of people ask if radio pays a lot. It doesn’t,” he says, “It certainly isn’t this glamorous lifestyle as some people make it out to be. But, I’d much rather go to work happy and doing something I love rather than doing something I hate.” His is the kind of optimism one must have to make it in this business.