Broadcasting news over the radio is a career that I have just recently had the chance to become more familiar. I have had the opportunity to shadow employees of Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR), in Eau Claire, and I have learned more about what goes on during a work-day in the office.
When I went to the office I was greeted by Dean Kallenbach, the regional manager, and he gave me a tour of the facility. After the tour, I noticed that the radio station was smaller than I had imagined. I pictured this large facility filled with busy people doing multiple jobs, but at the WPR station in Eau Claire was a small, tight-knit office that only had five people working, while I was visiting, and it was calm and collected.
During the time of my job shadow, I had the opportunity to watch and listen to a live radio show. “The West Side” is a radio show hosted by Rich Kremer; this particular show was a dual interview between Rich, Democratic State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout of Alma and Republican State Sen. Kathy Bernier of Chippewa Falls. It was a great learning experience to be able to see how a radio show is conducted, how much is going on in the recording studio and how much focus it takes.
After the radio show I took the time to interview Kallenbach about being a part of WPR.
“It’s about paying attention to your surroundings, to what’s going on around you,” said Kallenbach when asked where WRP gets the information for their stories.
Kallenbach went on to explain how WRP is comprised of 33 stations around Wisconsin. Each station focuses on local news, and they sometimes work together to bring larger scale news to anyone who would be listening. Kallenbach also told me that the stories that they broadcast are not only focused on importance, but they are also focused on their target audience. After hearing that, it really resonated with me because it made sense, with any medium of news it has to not only be focused on the location, but also who they know is listening, watching or reading.
After my interview with Kallenbach, I took the time to interview Kremer, a news reporter and host of “The West Side”. I asked him about his work as a broadcast reporter and what got him started.
“From the time I was in school, I always knew I wanted to work with public radio,” said Kremer, “I had a really great experience doing an internship, won some awards, and knew I wanted to work for Wisconsin Public Radio.”
Kremer continued to talk about how he originally started his work in print journalism, thinking it would be his career path, but as he continued his work on an internship he felt that it clicked better with him, and so he stuck with radio broadcast.
While doing my job shadow at WPR in Eau Claire, I learned a bit about what it is like to be part of a radio broadcast station. It sparked my interest more in possible careers in radio. I will be looking forward to other opportunities like this one, and always be looking forward to learning more.