Radio revisited: Student follows professor’s path

By Greg Colburn

Special to the Knightly News

Sometimes, you get a chance to step back in time. Just ask Assistant Professor Paul Miller.

Recently, he revisited Butler Radio Network––home to WISR, WBUT and WLER – The Rock Station 97.7––in Western Pennsylvania where he interned in 2003 as an undergraduate at Slippery Rock University.

The reason for his trip? He stopped in to say hi to one of his students, Krystal Golden, who was following in his footsteps. “I was very excited about her interning at the same place I did,” said Miller, who grew up in Carlisle.

“I highly encouraged her to apply there and made sure that she could do an early internship based on the time frame that they had for her.”

She was finishing up her internship, working with some of the same station personnel that had trained Miller nearly two decades before. He was glad to reconnect with his mentors.

The sign in front of the Butler Media Group offices promotes an upcoming event in Butler County. Photo by Paul Miller.

“To have Krystal there was so special,” said Miller, who hosts the Knightly News Podcast. “All along, I knew that I wanted to go back to the site, especially when I found out that Vicki Hinterberger and Bob Cupp, my two supervisors, were still there nearly 20 years later.”

“To be back, just like old times, was something that I’ll never forget,” added Miller, who has been teaching at Central Penn since 2013.

For her part, Golden admits that she has some big shoes to fill. “I’m not going to lie; at first, it was kind of intimidating to have my internship at the same station as Prof. Miller. I think there’s a lot of pressure working and going into something that someone else––especially your professor––has worked/done before, but at the same time it was really fun.”

Golden lives in nearby Chicora and is an online student in Central Penn’s Corporate Communications program. She’s on target to graduate in the spring. We recently spoke with her via email about her internship experience and more.

Photo above, from left is Vicki Hinterberger, Krystal Golden and Paul Miller.

What interested you in Central Penn College?

I had finished my management degree in Michigan before moving to Pennsylvania in 2016, so when I got down here I started looking at schools. It took me a while before settling on CPC, especially since I wasn’t originally looking to do online classes only. However, CPC was the only college that I looked that specifically had a corporate communications program, so that pretty much was the deciding factor.

How was the internship?

It was a great experience and a completely different atmosphere than what I’m used to (I’m a preschool teacher, so radio is very different!).

What were your duties and responsibilities?

I’ve gotten to do a little of everything while being there. At the beginning, they asked me what I wanted to focus on and––because I’m interested in promotions and events––we tailored my experience to that… I was able to work a lot of remote events for nonprofits and also the Big Band Jam, which is an end-of-the-summer concert that goes for the entire weekend.

I also got the opportunity to write news release, give out tickets for The Black Crowes and KISS, research stories, create an hour news segment/interview, create commercials, represent the station in a parade, plan the Christmas float, come up with a mascot, and interviewed someone running for Senate.

Krystal Golden joins WISR host Patrick Parker in the studio. Photo by Paul Miller.

What hours do you typically work?

Because I’m still working my actual job, I would spend 15 hours a week at the radio station (M, W, F, for five hours each) and then if we had an event during the weekend; however, those would range from three hours to 10 hours depending on what event it was.

Have you had any opportunities to be on air?

I did. I was given the opportunity to record some new stories and commercials; however, I have no interest in being on-air, so it wasn’t something I did regularly or that they pushed for.

Have you learned anything about modern radio that has surprised you?

I think what surprised me most was just how much recording there was behind it. While each on-air host was live every day, after 2 p.m. almost everything was pre-recorded and the studios were empty besides a select few of us.

The station I was with is an independent network, so they do everything themselves. Nowadays, when you listen to the radio, you’ll quickly realize that there are core songs that are constantly put in rotation and that you hear the most.

With the stations at Butler Radio, each on-air talent handpicks their playlist/logs so you have a huge variety of songs. Bob Cupp (hosts WBUT and Bluegrass Show) has a rule that you will never hear the same song twice a day on his stations, which I thought was really interesting and a fun way to keep listeners engaged.