Ivy Leaf - Spring 2004
Mention the words "radio sales" and Courtney Paul '03 grimaces.
"I said I would never work in sales! I didn't think I had the personality."
But working in sales – and enjoying it – is what Courtney is doing, thanks to an internship with Forever Broadcasting in Altoona, which opened her eyes to a career that she never dreamed she'd be doing.
As a Penn State Altoona student, majoring in the College's four-year business degree with concentrations in marketing and management, Courtney long had a vision of working in the music industry. She even contacted recording labels in Nashville about completing an internship there. But her timing was a bit too late, and she would have had to delay her August 2003 graduation date. Her timing, however, later proved to be beneficial for both her and Forever Broadcasting.
"I love country music and was a Froggy 98 fan for years. That's why I contacted Forever about completing an internship." Froggy 98 is one of the 22 radio stations owned by Forever Broadcasting throughout the Central and Northern Pennsylvania region, including Altoona, Johnstown, Somerset, State College, Meadville, and Franklin.
Courtney not only completed her internship at Forever, she turned it into a full-time job, in a field that she hadn't even considered when she entered Penn State Altoona.
"By interning, and now working at Forever, I've learned what I'm capable of doing and what I'm not. You have to be comfortable talking to people and I've definitely learned that here. I was also very shy when I started and I think I'm getting much more outgoing. Sales is something I didn't think I could do, but an ability that everyone else at Forever saw in me!"
Fast forward one year. Penn State Altoona student Tara Irvin – also a business major with marketing and management concentrations – is in the final stages of completing her internship at Forever Broadcasting.
Different from Courtney, Tara previously had worked as a waitress, completed work-study employment at Penn State Altoona and taken courses in group dynamics, personal selling and work styles, all of which helped prepare her for an internship in which developing and building personal relationships is extremely important.
Tara's written commercials for the many stations at Forever, drafted letters to clients and helped with promotional updates. She even spent a day in the studio with radio personality K.C. O'Day and learned the workings of an on-air studio. She also accompanied Forever staff on sales calls – and began working out of Forever's Huntingdon office as a sales associate following her May 2004 graduation.
"I really like the independence here," Tara says. "They give me something to do and complete freedom to do it. The staff here want you to be self-sufficient and to succeed. I'm looking forward to working here full-time, and the Huntingdon office is a great place to get my feet wet."
Is it a coincidence that both of Forever's newest staff members are Penn State Altoona grads? Forever Market Manager Dave Davies doesn't think so.
"Penn State Altoona students bring with them a discipline from the demanding environment that their curriculum at the College gives them. They can handle what we throw at them by the skills they bring with them: discipline, perseverance, and the ability to adapt to any situation. Penn State Altoona prepares them well."
He adds that even though Courtney and Tara didn't go to college specifically to learn radio sales, they learned other important skills for this field, such as problem-solving and the ability to work independently.
"The skills that Penn State Altoona teaches are very adaptable," states Davies.
Davies notes that when he looks for interns, he doesn't just seek a student who will be a good intern. Rather, he looks for future good employees.
"Penn State Altoona's internship program has been able to point students to me who, impressively, have specific goals, dreams, and aspirations."
"When Courtney called me a year ago about completing an internship, there were at least three or four other students who were also interested in interning at Forever. I chose Courtney, and later Tara, because both of these individuals are very hirable. And at the end of the internship, I had two potential employees."
In the hiring process, it's a win-win situation for everyone involved.
"The students win because they now have jobs in which they will do well financially. I win because I have two individuals with experience that I can trust."
States Davies, "I work with Penn State Altoona because they work with me."