I intentionally capitalized the word “learning” in the title of today’s post. After returning from Conclave 37 in Minneapolis last week, it reinforced the unique value of this event, as well as the need for greater participation from more people from different sectors of the broadcasting business.
Unlike just about every other conference (and we love and attend many of them), the Conclave is different. It’s not just the Midwest vibe – it’s the commitment to teaching, learning, and growing that sets it apart from other events.
That was reinforced at our Summer School sessions that kicked off Conclave at 9 am on Wednesday. Paul and I arrived an hour early to the ballroom to set up, and the first person we saw was a young lady waiting for the conference to begin. Jennifer Varan, a recent graduate of Albright College near Reading, PA, drove 20 hours with her parents to get there in time for the opening of Conclave.
Talking to Jennifer sent me the message that there are young people with a deep desire to get into the radio business, and they come to conferences like this to learn, hang out with radio people, and network. (You can check out her goals, her resume, her passion for radio, and other stuff at a cool website she’s built – www.famousjensterr.com)
Coleman Insights’ Warren Kurtzman and the Conclave board and committees put together a great agenda with strong speakers, great sessions, as well as Kurt Hanson’s RAIN on Friday afternoon. With Tom Kay, the always buttoned-up Jay Philpott, the Conclave staff, and volunteers, this conference was as smooth as we’ve seen since I’ve been participating – and that goes back a few years.
Tomorrow, I’ll pull together the story of this year’s Summer School sessions – via Twitter – that will speak volumes about the vibe and energy at this event. Below is a picture of the packed ballroom for our Summer School “curriculum,” featuring Arbitron’s Jenny Tsao, Coleman Insights’ Chris Ackerman, all-star music marketer Mike Brandvold, and the Minnesota Twins’ Chris Iles. In addition, Paul Jacobs and Lori Lewis presented as well. (Thanks to Brown College’s Mike Kronforst for the photo.)
Thanks to all for a great time and a fabulous event where veterans meet rookies – and it was good.
The Conclave is the most unique of radio get-togethers, serving a very important need – the education and nurturing of talent. While 93% of Americans may listen to the radio every week, a shrinking number of young people want to make it their career. The industry – from the biggest companies to the RAB to the NAB to state broadcaster associations to ma & pa stations – should do everything it can to encourage high school and college kids to pursue radio, and in the process, help us grow the business.
These days, making conventions work is more challenging than ever. Even companies that still allow their employees to attend conferences often stipulate they can only choose one. In the case of the Conclave – 37 years-old and going strong – broadcasters should see the special value it provides.
Oh, and Jennifer Varan, that student who I mentioned earlier? She won the dmr/IBS/Doug Lee Memorial scholarship at the awards lunch and is well on her way. I should have known.