Communication students in Chicago
Bradley students head to Chicago for an overview of the communication industry in a major metropolitan marketplace. For two weeks students will have on-site visits with industry executives at public relations and advertising agencies, radio and TV stations, not-for-profits, museums, corporations and other related organizations. Read as the students share their perspectives on this unique experience.
Cheryl Corley ’76, sitting, with Bradley students at WBEZ Chicago studios.
By Anna Wilks ’15
After three days of warm Chicago weather, the cold and wind greeted us on our fourth day as we traveled to Navy Pier. There, we met up with NPR reporter and correspondent, Cheryl Corley ’76, at WBEZ radio, Chicago’s NPR affiliate. As a Bradley alumna, Corley was more than happy to discuss her career and everything it entails with us.
We began with a visit to the station’s studio where a radio program was underway. The WBEZ show “The Morning Shift” with Tony Sarabia was in full swing so we were able to watch both him and the production staff in action. The show’s topic involved musicians who are now in new careers with guest Byron Stingily, a singer of R&B and house music who is now a Chicago school principal. The topic then sparked some discussion of if there is an appropriate time for musicians to unplug and move on.
Our own Bradley student Kelly Sheehan was featured on the show when she called in to say that Nickleback should call it quits. This caused a lot of laughs in the station. During the broadcast, we were able to observe the behind-the-scenes production, which included taking phone calls, cuing up music for the show and making sure there is clear communication to the host about what’s coming up next.
After the show, we entered the studio for a question-and-answer session with staff at “The Morning Shift,” including Sarabia, producer Carrie Shepherd and director Jacob Marck. They talk about how the show was much more than just talking on air. They said it takes skill to make sure all of the various elements fit together to create a successful broadcast.
From there, Corley explained to us how NPR works and what she does as a reporter and correspondent. We had the opportunity to hear some of her recorded news stories that were nationally broadcasted on NPR programs. We also met with the WBEZ’s General Manager Torey Malatia, Vice President of Strategic Communications Daniel Ash and Director of Internships George Lara where they gave us deeper insight into the world of broadcast media.
Finally we received a tour of WBEZ and learned even more about the radio station. As Corley walked us through, we saw a small production booth where she records her stories and the numerous studios where shows are recorded. We also visited another studio where sister station, VocalO, was being recorded. Every turn lead us to a new experience or exposed us to another aspects of media communications.
With the first week coming to a close we have studied everything from public relations to radio stations, from advertising to social media and it doesn’t stop there. So far our trip has been such an adventure and we can’t wait for more!
By Adrienne Mintz ’14
I subscribe to more than 300 YouTube channels. Yes, you read that right. I watch everything from vlogs to makeup tutorials, to cooking videos to whatever else you can think of. When I learned that our class was going to be visiting Suite, the world’s largest producer of original, authentic YouTube content, I was over the moon.
Our morning started with Barry Krause ’76, the CEO of Suite, telling us about the company and their LiveLab studio. Suite focuses on making more love. It was asked of us, what is the value of a “like”? What does it mean if one person “likes” your company’s Facebook page? The goal is to change those “likes” into “loves.” In order to do that, you need to make your brand more credible and more lovable. Suite makes its clients more lovable by live streaming their content to YouTube, and incorporating interaction as well.
I mentioned earlier about Suite’s LiveLab studio. Let me tell you, nothing I can write can describe how amazing this place is. Everything is sleek, shiny, modern and edgy.
Within their studio is a radio station where “The Down and Dirty” with host Frank Fontana is recorded, a “do It yourself” weekly radio show that is streamed live on the Internet. Our very own Dr. Ron Koperski and senior Lee Pikelny were featured on the show.
In the Craftsman tools lab, our class was taught how to correctly hammer a nail, which by the way is down and out. Finally, we continued our hands-on learning by creating a lovely lemon dijon basil salad dressing to accompany our lunch.
Everyone at Suite was warm and welcoming. They definitely get a “love” from me. They engaged us in so many ways. I believe what really shined was that everything we were doing was interactive, from being inside the radio studio to hammering a nail. The entire time we were there, they were filming and live streaming all of it.
I went into Suite this morning thinking they were just a YouTube content creator. Maybe I had even seen some of their material from all the channels I watch. But as I left Suite and the LiveLab, I realized how they do more then just develop online content. They build relationships, tell stories, create emotions. And that is really what communication is about.
By Kelly Sheehan ’14
As we began our two-week communications seminar class today in Chicago, it was anything but windy as the sun beat a strong 90 degrees. The heat was on, literally and metaphorically, as the interns made their way by train, car and foot to the Museum of Science and Industry. Most students were incredibly excited to be there and showed up much earlier than expected in anticipation for the first day of class. A Bradley alumna Lisa Miner ’98, the director of public relations for the Museum of Science and Industry, was the first to greet us and walked us into a conference room within the museum.
With the accompaniment of Maureen Chen, director of marketing for the Museum of Science and Industry, Miner unveiled the curtain into the reality of the communications department in the professional world. Chen began by explaining the basic demographics, research tools and thought process that goes into a large marketing campaign. MSI’s mission statement is to inspire the innovative genius in everyone. Miner and Chen explained to the interns how to incorporate a mission statement into a vision by inspiring the future generation to excel to their full potential in science, technology, medicine and engineering.
Miner then presented previous public relations campaigns MSI has used. A very popular and engaging campaign was the Month at the Museum. The idea was to move someone into the museum for thirty days and have them explore, experiment and blog about their experiences after hours. The original campaign was an underestimated idea by the public relations department that bloomed beyond its original intention. Miner inspired us by showing how a small idea can bring together all types of media, leading to a fun and exciting advertisement campaign, without breaking the budget.
After the session were we off to search the city and grab lunch at Corner Bakery on Michigan Avenue. For student Anna Wilks, who is from Indianapolis, this was the first time seeing the fast-paced and busy Chicago lifestyle.
Next we hopped in a cab, and made our way north to TPN ad agency. We met with multiple advertising and marketing moguls like chief creative officer Anthony Massa. As a group, we were instantly awed by the modern conference room and the comfortable atmosphere. After the jokes were set aside, the advertisers quickly showcased their vast knowledge of the industry, and the ever changing market within the communication walk of life by presenting case studies of ad campaigns such as Clorox. The day ended with an analogy related to a red kick ball that sat in the middle of the room. This red ball symbolized passion. The higher a child bounces the ball, the more the children would attract. The harder you work in life, the more recognition you will get. With the red kick ball in mind, we entered the streets astounded by our first day in the city, and ready to bounce the ball higher.