Oh, how people still deride those quicky 6 month broadcasting school courses. Despite the fact that THOUSANDS of people on the air today got their start in them.
That having been said, though some of those schools are still out there, they are facing potential future issues. Why? Because high schools, seeing a need to do more vocational training, are getting into the business of teaching what used to be taught in a “Broadcasting School.”
Want to learn the basics of computer assisted radio jocking? Can be done in high school on programs such as Station Playlist. (A number of high school, college, LPFM and even small market commercial stations use it. And it’s new version 5.20 just released allows for real time voice tracking…just like the big, expensive programs do.)
Want to learn Adobe Audition? A lot of high school programs teach CS-6 now.
Journalism classes? High Schools have them.
So, why go to a broadcasting school or college? Because they CAN teach things that high schools don’t or aren’t.
For starters, the 2 year, Associates Degree program at which I teach has to teach remedial courses like English, Speech, Writing plus Psychology, Environmental Science, Algebra and other “core courses”. Some of this is because some students coming out of high school do SO poorly on basic Math and English questions on our entrance exam that without the remedial courses, they would not pass the program. And I am amazed at the number of students coming out of high school who seem to think that “writing” equals “copy and paste”. Great, kid…you can use a keyboard, now learn to write with it.
Newswriting. It’s an absolute MUST anymore for someone wanting to get in the business. But, there are different types of news writing. And you must be able to differentiate between “NPR style” writing most often taught in schools and “Commercial Radio Newswriting” which is all but ignored by them.
And what type of station employs the most news writers? It’s not non-commercial radio.
How about basic engineering? Question for you DJ types…do you know how to solder a plug on a broken mike cable? We teach it. Do they in high schools? Maybe some, but not all.
And yes, we teach the Society Of Broadcast Engineer’s Operator Certification Course. It’s basically the old FCC Third Phone/Element 9 test upgraded for today’s radio.
Do you NEED it? No. Does it help the station if you have it? YES. Because they know they don’t have to train you as much. Could it give you a foot in the door in the hiring process? Perhaps.
We also teach methods of research and statistical analysis. Why? If you become a PD, you need to know how to read that Nielsen book…and how to interpret a music test and perceptual research studies.
They don’t teach that in high school, either.
So, think about that before your son or daughter assumes they can get in the business simply by taking broadcasting courses in your local high school.
Some of us teaching in accredited college programs know what the teachers in high schools and some of the professors in some 4 year college programs don’t.