Mark Maben is the development director for College Broadcasters Inc. Campus View commentaries are a regular feature for Radio World.
Later this week College Broadcasters Inc.’s National Student Electronic Media Convention takes place in Philadelphia. This annual gathering of students, faculty, advisers, and staff who are committed to student-run campus media features more than 100 educational sessions, a trade show, the ever-popular “swag swap,” and a keynote address by veteran WINS(AM) reporter and anchor Glenn Schuck, among other activities. CBI’s Mark Maben recently caught up with Schuck to talk about his career and his upcoming speech.
Mark Maben: As I longtime listener to 1010 WINS, I know it is not uncommon for you to cover three or four different stories in one day, often spread out over the vast geography of the New York market. What’s the secret to covering so much ground in one day?
Glenn Schuck: The fact I start my day at 3:30 a.m. sure helps! I can get to my first assignment quickly because the streets are so quiet that time of day. I usually am already on the move by 7 a.m. to get to a second story. From covering the hundreds and hundreds of stories that I have over the years, you also learn the shortcuts: highways to avoid, best places to park, toll lanes to miss, that kind of thing.
Maben: Has the rapid pace of technological change in radio the last 10 years made the job of reporter easier or harder?
Schuck: I would say while we have so many more things to do now at a breaking story, overall it is easier. What I mean at every story I do now, in addition to getting sound at that scene and getting it on air, we have to tweet, post to Facebook, and even shoot video. It can be pretty frantic. But as recently as a decade ago we still had to run to a pay phone sometimes to get on the air. The age of smartphones has helped save time, and certainly improved on-air quality.
Maben: You recently added anchor duties to your WINS responsibilities. Has sitting in the anchor’s chair influenced how you report a story when you are out in the field?
Schuck: I find that working in the field so many years has actually helped me be a better anchor. It gives me a certain level of relaxation in studio that I always wanted to feel. While I love breaking stories in the field, the anchor desk is where I feel my career is headed.
Maben: During this year’s presidential race, criticism of news media has been especially intense. What does the growing hostility toward the press mean for future of journalism? For our democracy?
Schuck: News outlets will have to make some tough decisions here. In many cases now journalists don’t even feel safe covering the presidential elections and that cannot continue. No news outlet should fear sending a reporter to a campaign event; that is just crazy! Political candidates will in many cases continue to blame the media for one thing or another because of the 24/7 news cycle. But news outlets must push back.
Maben: You started your professional career as a DJ and worked at some great music stations like WPST and WAAF. What inspired you to make the leap from music to news? How hard was making that transition?
Schuck: I was news director at WSOU(FM) at Seton Hall and always wanted to do news. But I found as I came out of college the opportunities in news were few. My gig at WAAF(FM) was maybe the most fun I ever had. But 10 years into my career I knew if I was going to achieve my dream of being in news, I had to act. So I was fortunate to be hired at CNBC in 1995 as a business news radio anchor. That lead to a nearly 20 year run on 1010 WINS.
Maben: You are about to give the keynote address at the National Student Electronic Media Convention in Philadelphia. What are some of the topics you plan to cover in your remarks?
Schuck: I plan on breaking the keynote into two parts. One part is to speak about the current presidential election and how it may impact media going forward. I will also discuss my career and how it can maybe help and/or inspire college-age journalists today to achieve their goals.
Maben: You have spoken publicly many times about how your experiences as a student at Seton Hall University’s WSOU shaped your career path. How important is participation in college radio or TV for today’s students?
Schuck: I think participation in college radio is vital. The daily hands-on experience is so important: the interaction with your station mates, learning how to handle problems, and practice, practice, practice! The more air time you get, the better things will be down the road. I listen now to some of my college radio work and while I wasn’t the best air talent for sure, it gave me the confidence to get better.
Maben: Radio still reaches 92% of Americans every week, about the same percentage as in 1970. Yet many people believe that radio is on a similar same death spiral as newspapers. As someone who has worked in radio since your freshman year in 1981, how do you view the future for the radio/audio industry? And do you have any recommendations for current students and recent graduates on how they can influence the future of our industry?
Schuck: For more than a decade the “experts” have declared the radio industry dead or near death. While ad revenue is down for sure, it seems people still turn to radio for their information from a “live” person. I would say young journalists should be the best writer they can be, a great networker and communicator. Be those and you will achieve your career goals.
Maben: What do you like to do when you’re not in work mode?
Schuck: I usually am in work mode! It is hard to turn off the news brain since I am always watching for breaking news. I enjoy time with my daughter who is in third grade. Since most days I’m home by 1 p.m., I really enjoy the time I can spend with her after school.
Maben: What is the craziest interview you ever had to do?
Schuck: I have had many! Around six years ago I interviewed a cat that had fallen six stories from a Manhattan high-rise and lived to “tell” about it. The cat would actually purr loudly when I asked a question.