A Radio Nerd's Dream Day
Blogger: Emily Henderson
So I have a confession to make: I’m a total radio nerd. This might be the first time you’ve met someone who self-identifies as being a nerd about radio (and podcasts, oh goodness, so many podcasts) and you might be asking, “Is that really a thing?” I think it is because I’ve heard ‘nerd’ defined as someone who’s really passionate about something; it doesn’t have to be comic books or math (but of course it can be).
Now this isn’t just a random proclamation; I am going somewhere with this. I’m taking a journalism class this semester and in talking to my professor I brought up that my favorite way to get my news was from NPR, and since he seemed interested in that I just kind of went off (as I do) about how much I like radio and podcasts. My professor’s response was that he knew a reporter at a local NPR station and could set up a tour with said reporter for me, which brings us to my main story. (Side note: This is also a tale of the advantages of small classes because you get to know your professors and they can help you get connected with cool stuff like this).
When the day came I arrived about 20 minutes early because I was so nervous about being late, but in the end it paid off because I had to try a couple lots before I found somewhere that I was actually allowed to park. When I got to the ultra-modern lobby I perched on the couch, on the edge of my seat, waiting for the allotted hour.
Then, my guide for the day arrived and showed me in. I got to see the recording studios with the big clocks on the wall, ticking away the time down to the second, because timing in radio has to be exact. We also saw the reporter’s room where big white boards showed the hour by hour schedule for each show. As we went around the cubicles and my reporter guide pointed out each show host’s desk, I was internally having a total fan-girl freak out but externally I kept my composure. “Oh cool,” I would say with a nod. I held the excitement in until I got back to my car at which point I took the Instagram pictured above (because if you don’t Instagram it did it really happen?).
My tour guide and I also went and got lunch, which was tasty and I got to feel like one of the ‘cool kids’, hanging out where the locals get lunch. Over chicken salad sandwiches, I got advice and the inside scoop from my new reporter acquaintance. We talked about how the NPR national vs local system works, what it’s like being a reporter, what experience is helpful when you’re trying to get your foot in the door.
That day was honestly one of the awesome-est experiences of my semester. (Yeah I just used a made up word because the real ones aren’t good enough to describe this). And it wouldn’t have been possible if my professor hadn’t found out what an NPR fan I was; if I hadn’t been willing to embrace my nerdy side and let myself unabashedly love what I love.
So to everyone out there who’s really passionate about something, don’t be afraid to let your nerd flag fly every now and again, and if you ever need a good podcast recommendation, feel free to hit me up.