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SCBA Fund Helps Radio Students

Program benefits career hopefuls but also serves needs of SoCal stations

Brandon Lang Efforts to develop our next generation of radio leaders are so important.

Let’s take note of the Southern California Broadcasters Association, which recently named winners of its 2013 broadcasting awards to students who are pursuing radio careers.

They include Jacqueline Iniga, winner of the Ben Hoberman Radio Broadcasting Award at Cal State Los Angeles, who is studying broadcast journalism; Andrew Louie, recipient of the George Nicholaw Radio Broadcasting Award at Pasadena City College, who hopes to be an announcer for the Lakers and does play-by-play and other on-air work at the school’s Lancer Radio; and Brandon Lang, who received the Stan Spero Radio Broadcasting Award at California State University, Fullerton, where he is technical director for Titan Radio.

An explicit goal is to attract the “best and the brightest” to Southern California radio, according to association President Thom Callahan.

If other associations or companies wish to start such a program, what should they know about it?

SCBA’s Ellen Dostal, director of events & member services, told me that scholarships range from $500 to $1,000 depending upon the school, and were set up with the guidance of each school. The impetus for the program came from advertising industry leader and philanthropist Dennis Holt, who founded Western International Media and other companies.

“Dennis Holt was instrumental in launching the SCBA Scholarship Fund, established from the proceeds of his Lifetime Achievement Award Event in 2000 when he was honored as SCBA’s ‘Man of the Millennium,’” Dostal said. “The major endowment came from this event, and we draw a small percentage of the funds each year to be used for the scholarships.” The scholarship fund is managed by the California Community Foundation and grants three each year.

Two dozen students have benefited since inception, and the fund balance has increased over time. While there is no recurring event to support it, SCBA welcomes contributions. Callahan said SCBA hopes to launch more scholarships in 2014 and will be soliciting companies for donations to fund them.

Preference is given to students majoring in radio broadcast communications. Selection is not based solely on GPA; other factors may include commitment to and promise in broadcasting, service to the school and community, or other criteria.

Kudos to SCBA and Dennis Holt for the good work of this program.


I spoke and emailed with scholarship recipient Brandon Lang, 32, who is studying the radio industry and works at Cal State Fullerton’s online Titan Radio as technical director. Born and raised in Orange County, he’ll graduate this fall with a career goal of being a station general manager.

(Reader, take note: Just because a campus station doesn’t have an FM or AM license doesn’t mean it can’t inspire students to a career in the industry, where the term “radio” itself is being redefined.)

“I have been attending CSUF since 2011, after transferring from Orange Coast College,” he wrote. “I have worked a part-time position doing audio/visual production for the last five years, which has given me the experience I need, while learning the necessary fundamentals and gaining the skills in production (in the field and in the studio).”

He grew up around audio and video; his dad does production work, and Brandon has DJ’d at clubs and posted content on Ustream. But radio wasn’t really on the horizon til he took radio courses at Cal State Fullerton.

“I decided to start volunteering at the college radio station on campus as a radio show host and also did some promotional work. After a semester of volunteering and finding that I really enjoy the work and the environment.”

Soon he was hired on as technical director. The position is paid but expires upon graduation. His work includes creating station promos and stop-sets, underwriting promos and making sure the station is functioning smoothly. The GM suggested he apply for the SCBA program.

Lang is a bit older than most undergraduates but two decades younger than me, and I’m always interested in knowing how the medium appears to younger people. I pressed Lang on what he likes about it.

“TV has a more visual aspect,” he replied. “It throws it in your face, you see it right there. Radio is more imaginative. That’s what brings out the magic in it.”

He hopes for an opportunity to help radio “take ownership of my demographic in my region.”

“Since working in a radio station now for the last year and learning the daily operations of the station, it’s really influenced the drive to learn and get involved more in the industry. I’ve had a positive experience working in radio and don’t plan to stop anytime soon. It’s only getting better; and I feel the industry is finally popping back, with some advancements in technology and the adjustments the market has made recently. So the future seems bright for a career in the radio and production industries and I am very excited.”

I told Lang he’d be wise to keep in touch with SCBA, which is a proactive broadcast association that does good work for its members. Both he and the association would benefit from such involvement.