A Reflection: How Radio During College Prepares You for the Real World

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by Tyler Donovan

College is more than just attending classes and earning a degree. It’s about taking every possible opportunity, trying and learning new things, preparing for life post-school, and of course having fun along the way. For me, being part of WONC has truly been a life-changing experience. It’s not only shaped my college years, but it’s also prepared me for the challenges of the real world post-graduation.

From the moment I stepped into the studio on day one, it wasn’t a done deal that I found my calling. I was shy coming into my first year at North Central College, and that certainly was no different for my first few on-air shifts. It was a long first year of constantly trying to push back and break through my comfort zone. That year was well worth it, as it’s led me to so many different opportunities throughout the last few years.

Working behind the scenes of many successful sports broadcasts, I was introduced to high level halftime shows and live commentary, something that sparked my interest. It took me another year or two to actually get behind the microphone and commentate a game live. Fast forward and I’m now broadcasting the NCAA DIII Men’s Volleyball Final Four and Championship. Whether it’s calling the action on the court or keeping listeners engaged during halftime, each broadcast has been a learning experience, pushing me to grow.

My journey at WONC goes beyond the broadcast booth. As the Assistant Social Media Director for the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to enhance my digital communication skills while collaborating with a team of talented individuals that I’m lucky to call my friends. From crafting engaging posts to fostering online engagement, this role has taught me the importance of communication and teamwork, both of which are valuable skills in any professional setting.

It’d be negligent to overlook the culture at WONC. It’s one that provides creative space to think and pursue ideas outside the box. It’s one where you can make friends, have fun, and be serious about radio, all at the same time. It’s one where anything you imagine is possible. All it takes is some work.

Reflecting on my time at WONC, I’m reminded of the countless positive experiences that have shaped my overall college experience. The one I think of the most: being given the nickname “DJ Tyty” by my volleyball teammates. Anytime someone mentions FM89 or WONC, my teammates, coaches, and peers look at me with a smile on their faces.

As I look toward the future, I’m grateful for the experiences that being part of a radio station has provided me. Each opportunity has prepared me for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. And while my college journey is ending, the friendships made and the lessons learned at WONC will stay with me for a lifetime. Being part of a college radio station is more than just an extracurricular activity; it’s a gateway to personal and professional growth.

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