As general manager for WBUQ, Bloomsburg’s student-run radio station, Fernando Santos is living his passion for the art and business of radio. But the junior communication studies major from Bethlehem didn’t come to Bloomsburg tuned to the possibility of a career in communications, let alone radio.
Santos arrived at BU in 2013 determined to become a teacher. He quickly discovered that this was not the right career for him. “I wasn’t doing well,” he says. “I didn’t know what I was going to do, but it wasn’t working, so I went home.”
In his semester off, he took a sales job at a national department store chain, and was very successful. “After doing so well in the sales job, I knew I needed to do something that would allow me to connect with people and show my personality on a regular basis,” says Santos.
An Intro to Mass Communications class taught by David Magolis, associate professor of mass communications, inspired Santos to get involved in the campus radio station. “We cover the many potential career paths in mass communications,” says Magolis. “Fernando sat in the front row of my class every day, but he really started paying attention when I talked about WBUQ.”
“I worked as a DJ for an online radio station when I was in high school, and I really enjoyed it” said Santos. “When I heard there was an opportunity to work at the campus radio station I jumped at the chance.”
Santos enrolled in the Confer Radio Talent Institute, a week-long summer institute provided through donor support, that exposes students to careers in the radio industry. Fernando, with additional funding from the Bloomsburg University Foundation, attended a national radio convention in Nashville where he networked with radio professionals from across the country. “Once I came back from that experience, no one could tell me this wasn’t going to be my career,” says Santos.
When the 2016 spring semester ended, Magolis approached Santos and asked him to consider taking on the role of general manager of WBUQ.
Santos is thinking about the station he wants to leave behind when he graduates in 2018. “I am so excited about this opportunity and to work with Professor Magolis to help transform the student radio station into a more professional training environment for myself and other students interested in a career in radio.” •
SIDEBAR: Giving The Gift of Experience
David Magolis, associate professor of mass communications, was recently chosen to receive the Kerby Confer Faculty Fellowship for Mass Communications. Magolis plans to use the funding from the fellowship to transform WBUQ, Bloomsburg University’s student-run radio station, into a professional media environment that will provide students with the tools needed for a career in the radio industry.
The gift to establish the Kerby Confer Fellowship for Mass Communications grew from the success and student involvement in the Confer Radio Talent Institute, which was also created through a gift from Kerby Confer.
Once Magolis realized that more and more students were becoming excited about working in radio, he and Doug Kleintop, director of development for the BU Foundation, approached Confer with the idea of turning the campus radio station into a learning lab for BU students.
“We had the opportunity here on campus to expose our students to the variety of career opportunities within the radio industry,” says Magolis. “By transforming the radio station from a club to a more professionalized setting, we can begin to prepare students for the broadcasting industry through hands-on experiences.”
Confer’s donation will also be used to support student trips to professional conferences and create scholarship positions within the executive staff of WBUQ. Through these positions, students will develop a format for the station and build a structure of leadership and staff who will focus on promoting the station and growing its audience.
“This gift creates the perfect opportunity to help our faculty develop the kind of high-impact experiences we want to provide to our students,” says Erik Evans, vice president of university advancement. “They also align with another major goal of the It’s Personal campaign, which is learning what our donors are passionate about and linking that passion to strategic initiatives that have a lasting and meaningful impact.”
Since the public launch of the It’s Personal campaign, there has been a major emphasis on creating gifts that support the university’s Professional U initiative and its comprehensive goal of providing students with one professional experience each year leading to graduation. •