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Getting air time: KSQM mentors P.C. students as interns learn the ins, outs of radio broadcasting
Two young budding journalists have gained professional experience in the industry, a rarity in a town the size of Sequim, thanks to a joint effort by KSQM 91.5 FM and Peninsula College.
The first two students to intern at KSQM and to earn journalisms certificates through the college, in addition to their associate degrees, are Liz Wasson, 26, and Carlton Chastain, 25.
The internship ran from January to late March and was conceived by Ed Evans, news director at KSQM, with input by journalism instructor Rick Riski.
“It’s been invaluable to work with people in the business so long, like Ed, our radio guru,” said Wasson. “It was a fantastic learning experience in a family environment.”
Wasson and Chastain have a fair amount of print journalism experience, both having been managing editors of The Buccaneer, the college’s newspaper, but broadcasting was an entirely different world, Chastain said.
Instead of picas and column inches, they dealt with soundbites and audio files.
“Ed taught me how to edit soundbites to upload them to the hard drive to be broadcast,” Wasson said. “I also spent time making the website more user friendly. I had to learn how to talk slower and Ed coached me every step of the way to make sure we got a good sound.”
Wasson primary studies are in homeland security and emergency management.
“Journalism has been a really great platform for my other studies. It’s made me a better communicator and observer,” Wasson said, also praising Riski for setting up the journalism certificate program. “I couldn’t have gotten to be where I am now without him.”
Chastain, who’s majoring in general studies, plus taking on the extra 25 credits for the journalism certificate, also has high praise for Evans.
“Ed is a great mentor and teacher. That he’s a wealth of information and that he has been in the business for 25 years made the entire experience fulfilling,” Chastain said. “I have a fair bit of experience in print journalism — he taught me everything I need to know in broadcasting. A lot of it was hands-on teaching to get me somewhere between Walter Cronkite and a rookie.”
Chastain said Evans taught him to think about what the audience’s environment is and taught voice coaching and how to phrase sentences. On the technical side, he learned how to use portable audio recorders and mikes for live interviews and how to upload the MP3 audio files to KSQM’s digital system, as well as use audio editing software. He also wrote about five news stories of up to five minutes each for volunteer deejays to read.
Wasson still has a few weeks of her internship to go. Then after she graduates in 2015, she wants to attend either Western Washington University or Washington State University and earn a communications studies degree. Chastain also hopes to graduate in 2015 and is considering Evergreen State College or WWU.
“I think the radio station fulfills a great service for the community,” Chastain said, “and exists because of community support and makes opportunities for those of us just getting started.”