Chase Rupe started in radio in 1997 when he was 15 years old. He started doing weekend overnights at a top 40 station in his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio, learning everything he could from his co-workers and supervisors. He says he practically had to be dragged out of the station.
Rupe has been in radio since and now is vice president of programming and operations for Emmis Austin Radio.
Jeana Adkinson, left, and Amy Leimbach of Alpha Media flank Joe Newman and Gus Unger-Hamilton of the band alt-J after a performance in the Skype Live Studio. Amy Leimbach was not enjoying selling newspaper ads as much in her first job as she had at the University of Oregon’s school newspaper. Prompted by hearing an ad for a sales position with her favorite radio station in Portland, Ore., Leimbach segued into radio in the early ’90s and climbed her way up the industry ladder. She now is regional director of business development for Alpha Media.
But as Rupe and Leimbach both point out, among young professionals, the radio industry isn’t perceived as sexy anymore, especially as it competes with the Internet and all its multitudes.
“When I started in ’91, the major choices were radio, television and newspapers,” said Leimbach. “Now, with the Internet, there is so much more competition and so many different types of digital advertising to sell that it’s much harder to compete in terms of hiring because the younger generation has so many options.”
Rupe said, “My larger fear is that if the younger generation doesn’t think that radio is cool, then they are not going to aspire to those jobs, and then it leaves the industry void of the next generation of talent. And that could be extremely dangerous if we don’t manage it properly.”
This led Rupe, Leimbach and other Radio Show planners to develop a series of panels dedicated to young professionals for the 2015 Radio Show. The conference will feature five panels designed to target young professionals on what the radio industry has to offer them and the best ways to break in and advance.
Session titles include “The Coffee Colloquy: Generational Disconnects and Managing Up,” “Asked and Answered!,” “Choose Your Own Adventure,” “An Integrated World” and “If I Knew Then, Now … Wow!”
SEEKING TO INSPIRE
“The Coffee Colloquy” examines generational differences between executives and younger professionals and features a panel made up by Tim Clarke, senior director, digital audience, radio, at Cox Media Group; Kim Guthrie, executive vice president, radio, Cox Media Group; Andrew Harby, local sales manager, Neuhoff Media; and Mike Hulvey, executive vice president and COO, Neuhoff Communications.
Chase Rupe “Asked and Answered” is a speed mentoring session that will divide attendees into small groups who will meet with industry leaders and can ask any questions they want. Leimbach will participate along with Jason Garte, founder and president, The Mix Group and Mix Talent Management; Haz Montana, vice president of content, Univision Radio; Heidi Raphael, vice president of corporate communications, Greater Media; and others. This session will immediately be followed by “Chose Your Own Adventure,” where attendees will pick and learn about a topic of their choosing.
The “An Integrated World” panel will help young professionals realize how radio and new digital environments intersect and how these trends can affect the future of radio. Panelists include Heather Cohen, executive vice president of The Weiss Agency; Scot Finck, senior vice president of promotion for Disney Music Group; and CJ Morgan, on-air talent and digital content producer for KLBJ(FM) in Austin, Texas.
The final session, “If I Knew Then, Now … Wow,” features industry leaders sharing how they grew in the radio industry and lessons they learned along the way. Rupe will take part along with Jose Valle, president of political and advocacy sales for Univision, and Jenna Fox, local sales manager for Scripps.
“Despite what you might hear, there is a lot to be excited about in the radio world,” said Rupe. “We’re going to explain what some of those things are, why you should be so excited, where the radio industry is headed, why and how we need the next generation to get us there.” He hopes young professionals will “walk out inspired and say, ‘I can make a difference and this is the industry I want to commit to.’”
The Young Professionals Sessions will take place Sept. 30 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.
The convention this year also offers a special registration rate of $259 for working radio professionals under age 35. A career networking event is planned for the afternoon of Sept. 29.
Separately, NAB, RAB and the Broadcast Education Association launched a Radio Show Student Scholars Program in which 130 undergraduate and graduate students are awarded registration scholarships..