Tuning In: The Advertising Major’s Tumultuous Experience in Radio Production

Some say love at first sight isn't real, but I found it in radio.

Some say love at first sight isn’t real, but I found it in radio.

I’m Annie Elliott, and I am currently a Senior Advertising Major at Temple University, concentrating in Media Planning. I also have minors in German Interdisciplinary Studies and Environmental Studies, respectively.

On top of these studies, I’m currently an intern at Philadelphia’s 93.3 WMMR’s Preston and Steve Morning show.

The journey to where I am now begins roughly 3,300 hundred miles away in Dublin, Ireland. In January of 2022, while studying abroad, I decided to apply for an internship position with WMMR as an intern for The Preston and Steve Morning Show. Keep in mind, I did not know a single thing about how radio was produced, but I know I had skills in social media and a passion for learning new things. I decided on a rainy night at a Dublin cafe that I would apply on a whim, and see where the wind would take me. It would not be until late April that I heard back and interviewed for the position, and was accepted.

Having lined up a summer job already, I would have to wait until August to begin my journey with WMMR. In the time frame between April and August, I felt major imposter syndrome. I questioned, wondering “Why did I apply for a radio internship when I could have done something within my own field?” and “Was I wasting my tuition money majoring in something I might not love anymore?” The answer was one I found out for myself later.

The studio, located in Bala Cynwyd, embodies everything that the station represents. With Rock and Roll history lining the hallways, it all leads up to a massive poster of Mick Jagger wearing a WMMR hat right outside of our show’s recording studio. I immediately knew on my first day I had found my forever place in radio. Thanks, Mick!

The work was intimidating at first, but for the first time in a while I felt confident in my ability to adapt and grow. Within the first few weeks, I started creating blog posts based on the show’s content, edited podcasts to be uploaded to streaming services, and had the opportunity to thrive in a new environment.

In my second semester with WMMR, beginning in January of 2023, I took on a new role: fully producing the segment “Clips.” These are small snippets of audio taken from interviews that promote upcoming Films and TV shows, which air daily on the show. I write the scripts, pull the audio, and format it to perfection. I will admit, it’s a bit unusual hearing your own content on the air, but each week allowed me to adapt, try new things, and create published content that I can call my own.

At WMMR, there are two people who have inspired me in my journey to becoming who I am and who I want to become in the radio world. The first being my intern partner and now one of my closest friends, Gina. Gina and I met in my first semester at WMMR, bonding over our love for music, pop culture, and Dunkin. She now currently works for WMMR as a Digital Assistant, and was the former producer for the segment “Clips,” a title that I now hold. I guess we could consider it a passing of the baton.

The second person who inspired me more than anyone else was the woman who decided to take me under her wing, Marisa Magnatta. Marisa is an associate producer for the Preston and Steve Show, and is my main inspiration when it comes to my future in radio. Every day, I get the opportunity to learn from her, and she never ceases to amaze me. She is dedicated to her craft beyond words, and represents everything it means to be a woman in radio. She is truly breaking the glass ceiling when it comes to female producers in the industry. Marisa has inspired me beyond words, and I simply could not have had the same experience without her patience and guidance.

Working at WMMR for the past nine months has taught me so much about myself. When looking at the things I’ve done in the past, consistency was never in the cards. I’m always open to change, whether it be different fields of study, different universities, or different countries. The most consistent things in my life are my name, my social security number, and my immediate family. Other than that, change has been the consistency in my life that I crave, and working in radio makes everyday a new adventure. It’s the most thrilling ride of my life, and a hopeful addition to my list of consistencies.

My experience at WMMR has helped me realize that my degree was not in fact a waste of money, but rather the path on the road that guided me to where I am now. I’ve come to terms with the idea that my degree is a tool that I can leverage to my own advantage. Sure, it might not be my job, but now it’s taken on the role of how I perform any job-with strategy and purpose. In its own way, it has helped me to advertise myself.

So although my work is not directly in the field, I’ve realized that my degree works far beyond the walls of an advertising agency. I implore anyone who reads this to take on the opportunities granted to you in life, and do not be afraid to branch out and try something new, it could lead to the best time of your life.

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