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Fall 2011, Joshua Hoffman, Past Students

College media help students prepare for future careers

By Joshua Hoffman

Griffin Radio is the campus radio station at Grossmont College. Evan Wirig, general manager and faculty advisor, discusses the station’s operations.

KPBS general manager Tom Karlo’s career began before it started.

As a student in the early 1970s, Karlo worked for San Diego State University’s campus radio station, KCR, broadcasting daily sports updates and football scrimmages.

“It was putting me in a position where I thought I was working the profession I wanted to go in to,” he said.

Karlo also worked part-time for KPBS, a public broadcasting organization just off campus, where he helped film documentaries.

“I had the fortunate experience of not just going to school, getting a degree and then going out and trying to get a job … I was able to see that I wanted to do this while I was going to school,” he said.

Forty some odd years later, Karlo runs KPBS as its general manager. While the radio and TV station have undergone major changes over the years, the opportunities it provides students remain the same.

“To this day, I very much value us having an opportunity to hire 40 to 50 undergraduate students that can work in our organization while they’re going to school,” Karlo said.

USDtv’s production facility features a fully equipped control room. (Courtesy Paige Nelson)

Climbing the media ladder

Nate John is one of those students. The religious studies major began working for KPBS last year, and he credits the organization for equipping him with various relevant skills.

“No matter what job you do, you need to work with people to achieve a goal,” John said. “And if you have experience doing that before you graduate, then I think that’s huge.”

John is also the news director for KCR. He likens the experiences KCR affords him to those chemistry students get in a laboratory.

“It’s an opportunity to experiment with what I learn about in the classroom,” John said. “I don’t know if any other experience while you’re a student can match that experience.”

USDtv, the University of San Diego’s on-campus television station, provides students with real-world experience.

Working alongside the pros

Antonio Morales, the sports editor for SDSU’s student-run newspaper, The Daily Aztec, traveled to Ann Arbor, Mich. earlier this year to cover the SDSU-Michigan football game.

“I got to the (Michigan Stadium) press box and saw Mitch Albom,” Morales said, virtually star struck by the award-winning sportswriter and author.

Morales said the opportunities to sit side-by-side industry professional at press conferences and sporting events are extremely beneficial.

“You’re more visible,” he said. “You can grow and learn and mature as a writer and as a member of the media.”

Getting a head start

John and Morales believe their respective positions will allow them to flourish in the media industry when they graduate, much like Karlo has demonstrated.

“You can not only leave the university with a diploma, but you can leave this university with professional experience,” Karlo said. “That, to me, is just as important as the academic part of your experience here at the university.”


About Josh Hoffman

San Diego State's student-run radio station


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