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KBA-WKU Radio Talent Institute

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The first-ever Kentucky Broadcasters Association Western Kentucky University Radio Talent Institute will be held on the campus of WKU this summer. For years the industry has talked of a “farm system”, or incubator, that would identify and bring new talent into the industry. Finally we have it. 

The KBA is the primary sponsor of the WKU Radio Talent Institute along with an impressive group of co-sponsors: The Cromwell Group, Forever Communications, Commonwealth Broadcasting, Henson Media, Forcht Broadcasting and LM Communications.

Gary White, President of the Kentucky Broadcasters Association, stated: “The KBA determined this to be a very worthwhile cause. We need to find and attract young people that have a desire to be in our industry today who can be our leaders of tomorrow. The KBA is proud to sponsor the Kentucky Broadcasters Association WKU Radio Talent Institute.” 

Thisis an intense ten days that covers practically all aspects of the business, including on-air, programming, production, promotions, news and sports broadcasting, sales, and interactive, and each student goes through 17 sales modules from the Radio Advertising Bureau to become certified as Radio Marketing Professionals by the RAB…and, there are no breakout sessions; all students are in every session. All sessions are taught by industry professionals from Kentucky, Tennessee and the surrounding area. 

“The Talent Institute is a positive for Kentucky broadcasters and is the kind of effort we should be involved with”, said Bud Walters, President, Cromwell Radio Group. 

Christine Hillard, President of Forever Communications, said, “My partner, Kerby Confer, first told me of his experience with the Radio Talent Institute in North Carolina; it was immediately obvious that this is the radio farm system the broadcast industry has needed for a long time.” 

The Radio Talent Institute agenda and curriculum creates forward momentum and anticipation over the ten-day institute. With 70% of the students getting their first job in radio or a related field after graduation, the program is an incubator that helps provide the state and region with well-educated, talented employees.  

“As soon as I was introduced to this program, I knew we should do it in Kentucky,” Steve Newberry, President and CEO of Commonwealth Broadcasting, commented.  Students have to apply to get accepted and, though it’s on the WKU campus, the institute invites and encourages students from all Kentucky universities and in the region to apply. The Radio Talent Institute accepts applications from rising juniors, rising seniors, and recent graduates. 

Students can apply from now until April 26th by going to this website:

The Kentucky Broadcasters Association WKU Radio Talent Institute is presented by the National Radio Talent System, founded by industry consultant Dan Vallie. Dan held the first Radio Talent Institute on the campus of Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, which is now in its 7th year. The National Radio Talent System creates the curriculum, organizes each institute, secures the affiliate/host university, procures the funding, and contacts and schedules the 25-30 broadcast industry veterans to be the guest professional faculty to teach all the sessions.

Vallie commented, “Broadcasters at the highest level understand the importance of bringing new talent into the industry, and even though the industry has talked about the need for decades, we have never developed an organized and systemized radio farm system until now. For the first time the industry has an innovative program that delivers entry level talent who are qualified to excel in radio stations and broadcast groups across America. These are talented, well-educated young people who have a passion for the business.”

“Many people in broadcasting often ask, ‘Where is the next generation of talent coming from?’ We now know the answer, the National Radio Talent System, a system of Radio Talent Institutes across the country. The people at the KBA and the other broadcasters sponsoring the institute, and the leadership at WKU, grasp the vision and see this as the investment in our industry’s future that it is.” First was the Kellar Radio Talent Institute at Appalachian State University in NC; now the KBA WKU Radio Talent Institute in Kentucky this summer - July 22nd – July 31st, and we already have broadcasters that have committed to totally fund institutes in two other states, as soon as the appropriate university commits.

National Radio Talent System is the first-ever radio talent system in the world and is committed to placing Radio Talent Institutes on college campuses in various states across America. You can visit the website at; on that site you can take a look at the Kellar Radio Talent Institute site, as well as see registration information…and apply…for the Kentucky Broadcasters Association Western Kentucky University Radio Talent Institute. This summer the National Radio Talent System will create a similar website for KBA WKU Radio Talent Institute that will highlight the students who have completed the institute and also the industry speakers that taught the sessions.

A broadcaster can visit the site and see all the information on each student, including resume´ and air check, photo, their major, and graduation date. It’s the “go to place“ to find young talent looking to break into the business and start their career. Eventually you will not only find the students from the Kentucky Broadcasters Association WKU Radio Talent Institute, but also from other connected Radio Talent Institutes across the country through the National Radio Talent System.

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 Last Modified 9/25/14