MAB and the Next Generation

Brett Moss is gear & technology editor.

The Michigan Association of Broadcasters and its foundation know how to treat their kids. At the recent Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference and Expo, the foundation handed out its 2011 MABF High School and College Broadcast Awards.

Check out the page. There are a lot of awards there. Somebody at the MABF is paying attention to young high school and college broadcasters. Somebody is making an effort. The kids, faculty sponsors and schools are responding with efforts to keep old-fashioned broadcasting alive.

The question is, what are state broadcast associations in the other 49 states doing about the next generation of broadcasters? Certainly we hear less these days about award programs like the one at MAB I mentioned (and kudos as well to the Michigan association for honoring the work of broadcast engineers, as we've noted elsewhere). And what are individual stations doing about the next generation of broadcasters?

Some make effort; but at others, I fear, if a kid, youth group or school called up, wrote a letter, e-mailed or tweeted about visiting the station or asked about internships, the response might be “Sorry, but can’t help. We’re too busy. We have insurance concerns. We’re understaffed. We’re worried about child labor laws. We have union rules about unpaid labor, etc.” Maybe I’m exaggerating or being unfair; but doesn’t it seem like the days when the local Cub Scouts were welcome to come for a station tour, and when high schoolers could be found working your remotes, are fading?

I’d repeat John Donne’s overused “… for whom the bell tolls…” lines but that would be pretentious.

Instead, ask what your state broadcast association, station or cluster can do. Yes, kids can be smelly, unreliable and unpredictable; most will lose interest when they learn they can’t get free tickets to the big concerts or when they realize they’ll have to do real work instead of playing around with their iPhones. But not all will lose interest; and the ones who don’t are the ones you really care about.

Meantime, send Radio World information on what you are doing to help and promote youth broadcasting. Post below or drop me an e-mail at

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