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Issue #272 – Student Successes

Weekly Newsletter

by Liya Swift

Student Successes

Radio Connection grad Larry Grant Goes from Trying to
Get a Foot in the Door to Owning a Radio Station!


Radio Connection graduate Larry Grant

By the time Larry Grant enrolled in Radio Connection, he’d been trying to get his foot in the door at radio stations for decades. Thanks to the training he received in our 6–9-month Radio Connection for Radio Broadcasting Program, Larry was able to get the foundational education he needed, locate areas he needed to improve upon, and elevate those skills through working one-on-one, remotely, with mentor John Caignet of Jolt Radio.   What led you to Radio Connection in the first place?   “What brought me to Radio Connection in the first place is that I knew I wanted to be in radio, and I knew that I didn’t have any formal education into radio. I was sure there was things that… I didn’t know prior to getting into radio, so I wanted to find that ‘step in’ and get the education that I needed to make the next steps into broadcasting to further my love of what I do.” Larry shares more of his experiences in Radio Connection in our Straight Talk video below!   You’d been trying to get into radio for years.   “Every time I’d see a different, I don’t know, ad for a job placement or whatever, this is in the late ’80s, early ’90s, mid 90’s, I always put in for it…. in… market five radio You have to have a lot of experience to get in. So I never really got the experience or the knowledge that I needed to get in there. I didn’t know where to go so I started, you know, doing more club work. And then I got to tour overseas as a club DJ in different clubs throughout Europe for about five years. And then, it kind of brought me back to The States and I was like, ‘Okay, so now what do I do?’”   During your training with John, you were able to use your knowledge of dance music and DJing to build and run your own show on Jolt as part of your training. How did that come about?   “He suggested [it] to me, [he said] ‘Well, since you do dance music… why don’t you do a show on the network that way you get some experience and we can work through your program?’ And I was like, ‘Oh, okay, I can do that.’ So… [he said], ‘Come up with a name and then, you know, [let’s] sit down and do this and we’ll see what happens.’ So I did. I did a pilot and he listened to it and… [he said], ‘Let’s do it.’ … I think [we]… did like 15 shows altogether, but and then just he said, ‘I’m going to let you do it. I’m going to let you have the experience in the DJing part…. [Go] through me to do the interviews… the presentation so forth.” …   How did going through Radio Connection enable you to improve your skills and education in radio?   “My airchecks were horrible before. I mean, it was basically me mumbling and going on. After that [Radio Connection] my airchecks were spot on. I knew exactly what they were looking for. I knew exactly what I needed to say… exactly how long it needed to be and, you know, what needed to be in a complete aircheck package and that’s just one element. But yeah, that’s a big one because that gets you the step in the door, then you have to get the rest of the stuff in. But yeah, it gave me the confidence to be able to do all of that. …   Learning the different aspects of different kinds of radio, for instance, sports radio and music radio and talk radio and the different things that go on. What a commercial is, what a spot is, what a jingle is, those things, you know, you think you know, and… for somebody that is not educated, [you can] kind of make it up if you will, but not to somebody that’s in the industry. They can call you out and be like, ‘Uh, you don’t know what you’re talking about.’ So it helped me learn all that stuff and actually make myself a better package altogether…. Learning the history of radio or learning the FCC’s role… has helped me greatly when I’m buying a station.”   We’ll get back to that shortly. After graduating Radio Connection, you finally landed that job in radio. Tell us about that.   “When I graduated and I was working with [Victor] at Radio Connection who was helping me with my resume… [and] I was like, ‘Look, nobody’s going to sell me better than me.’ So, he helped me get my resume together… and [I]… just started bombarding radio stations from coast to coast with airchecks, whatever. And you know, and a couple of them would give me bites, a couple of them said, ‘Yeah, sorry, you’re too far away, you know, and it’s only part-time, blah, blah, blah, blah.’… Well, KIRO had this part-time opening and they were local. They were the only one… that gave me a bite…. And I interviewed, and the guy said… ‘I want to give you a shot. You sound like you’d be a perfect fit.’”… I got a job working part-time as a board op for KIRO Radio…. I did that for a year, but during that time was when COVID happened.”   It turns out that the pandemic played a pivotal role in your life-changing decision to buy a radio station.   “Life is too short. Having almost died from COVID made that perfectly clear for me…. everybody [at work] was remote and so I took it upon myself to figure out, well, ‘What do I want to do? What is my next steps?… So I decided that, you know, I would take the “Get Smashed” radio thing that I’ve had for 20 years and I would actually make something of it. And I bought an FM station in Colorado and I just completed the sale in mid-July so, yeah.”   You now own a radio station in Colorado.   “I own, I operate, I program and do everything for a radio station in Colorado, and I voice track an afternoon show, that’s what I was just finishing when you called.”   What’s your advice to current and future Radio Connection students? How can they make the most of their time in the program?   “Learn everything you can by the text or whatever, but also from your mentors, ask questions. They are there to answer all those questions. They’re there to help, but they don’t know what’s going on in your head. If you have a question, don’t pretend like you know the answer, ask them. You’re not going to sound stupid. Ask them and soak in as much as you can from them because you will learn so much just from that experience.”   Learn more about Radio Connection for training in radio broadcasting, sportscasting, podcasting, announcing, and more!  
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