Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is mentoring a new generation of radio station engineers.
Responding to a decline in the number of engineers choosing to go into radio broadcasting, coupled with a spike in those retiring or close to leaving the industry, the broadcaster created a development program for market engineering management. This is in addition to an electrical engineering co-op program the company created three years ago.
Clear Channel EVP of Engineering & Systems Integration Jeff Littlejohn says the company is making a strategic investment in the future of broadcast engineering. “We hope to attract and expose new talent to the ever-changing world of radio while also fostering the growth and development of our existing employees.”
The broadcaster has more than 400 engineers.
The company has several graduates of its new Market Engineering Development Program. It’s characterized as an elite internal engineering system designed to support existing talent and accelerate personal growth. The two-year agenda incorporates a personalized curriculum that includes one-on-one coaching, education and testing, along with hands-on experience.
Many graduates from the inaugural class have been placed in high-level managing positions within Clear Channel, including Jake Wyatt, an AM transmission specialist and three marketing engineering managers: David Grice, El Paso, Texas, Chris Abbott in Tucson, Ariz. and Andy Mika in Waco, Texas.
Newly-promoted Grice said the instruction fast-tracked his growth within the company. “It would have taken me five to seven years to acquire the same experiences I learned in just two years through the program.”
The company introduced its electrical engineering co-op program as a pilot in 2011, and has offered 12 high-potential engineering college students the opportunity to expand their technical abilities and education while being exposed to “innovative” technologies and operational processes at Clear Channel stations. Students alternate semesters working in the co-op system, and then returning to school to pursue their degrees.
The students are given projects and assignments geared towards design, troubleshooting and modification of electronic systems and exposed to the development of new technologies. Two participating students will be awarded a $5,000 scholarship for their efforts, according to the broadcaster.
As this first class of graduates, Clear Channel welcomes its third group into the Market Engineering Development Program. The broadcaster will move its current class of six to Cincinnati to help build a radio studio at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in partnership with the Ryan Seacrest Foundation as part of the hands-on portion of the instruction.