There’s a good chance you’ve heard the voice of Juli Hinds, Ph.D. The assistant professor in Medaille's Department of Communication & Sport Studies is well known for her work as an on-air, mid-day talent at Mix 96 WMSX. She puts those talents to use at Medaille, where she teaches on topics ranging from crisis communications to social media strategies.
Here, Dr. Hinds speaks about her own career path, and she advises future radio hopefuls on what they can expect to find when entering the field and what skill sets they need to possess.
Tell us about your background. What drew you to a career in radio communications?
Like the students that hang around our Medaille WMCB radio station, I just liked being near radio stuff. There was something about the “live” quality of radio that just enchanted me. (Yes, we had radio when I started in 1984!) What’s great about our Medaille communication program is that we offer so many internships. That’s actually how I got my start. I was basically a go-to gal at first. I would get coffee or whatever I could, just to be near the aura of radio. From there, I was given an overnight shift, grew more comfortable being on the air, and ended up working in Chicago, Los Angeles and now Buffalo.
How does your work as at Mix 96 WMSX impact your perspective as a communication professor? How has the radio broadcasting field changed within the last decade or so?
I think being back in radio keeps me current. One thing that has really changed is the role of social media in promoting a station and its on-air talent. On a daily basis, you have to blog, post and just be more aware of how to connect with your listener through a range of social media tools.
What can future graduates expect to find when entering the field within the next five to 10 years?
Radio is really adaptive. Social media outlets are only going to grow in importance, so students who want to go into radio or TV need to have good social media skills. However, core aspects of radio communications – focusing on one listener, creating visuals through descriptive language and never forgetting that the listener can switch the channel anytime – are still true. So you need to always think about the listener, and be relevant and relatable.
Social media is a major interest of yours. What types of things do you teach students in the social media strategies course you teach?
We cover all social media tools: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, blogging and so on. Students come away from the class with a solid understanding of the varied platforms, and they also learn how to talk about the platforms in an intelligent manner. Critical thinking skills, what works, why and how, are key to this class.
What advice would you give to current and future students who are interested in a career in radio?
Be willing to do any small job, be open to opportunities and trust yourself. If you truly want it, you will grow into that dream job.