Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Interview with Ryan Lang - Promotions Director at Clear Channel Communications and Entertainment -- **Feature Story**

            Ryan Lang, Promotions Director at Clear Channel Communications, started his college education by studying mass communications at Santabarbara City College.  He then went on to the University of Santabarbara to finish his Bachelors degree.  He finished his college education at UCLA where he earned his Masters degree. 
            His career in radio began in 1992, at thirteen years old, when he was hired as a promotional intern and part-time air talent.  In 1994 Lang was offered full time hours and worked from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. as the overnight jock on a top 40 station.  On January 31, 1997 he was let go when the company went in a new direction, allowing him to pursue other opportunities outside of Sanabarbara. 
            Over the next few years Lang worked in many other markets, moving from San Luis Abispo to Los Angeles to San Diego, then to San Francisco and next to Las Vegas.  He traveled back to his hometown in 1999 where he worked for Jay Core, which was later bought out by Clear Channel.  It was there that Lang took a brand new, unknown station and made it number one in 9 months.
            “This is known as gorilla radio warfare,” Lang explained.  “Once I took an unknown station and either matched or beat the number one competing station in the area, my contract was up and I moved to another market.”
            Once his contract was up at Clear Channel in his hometown, he took the opportunity to move to a small market on the east coast.
            “My goal was to eventually find a job in Florida and settle down there,” said Lang.
            He landed at a small station in Florence, South Carolina where using gorilla radio warfare he destroyed their competitor station in 6 months, taking it from the number one spot to number 13.  Once he beat the station, he was let go, but he was not unemployed for long.
            “Thirty minutes later I got a call from the station I had just destroyed, asking if I could build them back up,” Lang explained.  “I agreed, and completed the task in 6 months, taking the number 13 station back to number one and keeping it there for three years.”
            When he left he moved to Sumter, South Carolina and worked for Miller Broadcasting, which has stations in Columbia, Orangeburg, Sumter and Florence as well.  His job position was a morning-show DJ on an urban station, afternoon jock on a country station, and a mid-day jock for a rock station.  It was there that he held the title position of Promotions Director for all four markets.  He stayed with them for three years, and then decided it was time for a change.
            “I felt burned out, plus we were under-staffed and the stations were suffering from lack of budget,” Lang said.  “It was then that I decided it was time to retire from radio all together.  I took two years off and worked for a few private companies, but I wasn’t staying as busy as I was used to.  That was when I took the job I have now.”
            Before Lang took the job as Promotions Director of Clear Channel Communications in Columbia, South Carolina, they had two Promotions Directors, two assistants and fifteen interns doing the job he is doing now with only three interns and no assistants.
            Lang’s first responsibility as Promotions Director is protecting the license of the station aka “keeping them legal.”  He creates and publicizes marketing incentives, which are meant to increase sales and the image of the station.  Typical promotions for the station include: giveaways, contests, samples, coupons and discounts to name a few. 
            When asked about the pros of his job Lang replied by saying, “I get all the free music I want.  I also enjoy getting to meet famous artists and actors that come through the studio and to our concerts and promotions.  I like to see the other side of concerts and the personalities of the people who are putting on the show.”
            When speaking about cons, on the other hand, Lang said, “I am forced to babysit the promotions department and sales people.  I am constantly dotting Is and crossing Ts, which should have been dotted and crossed by other people who should be doing their jobs.  People don’t take the time to follow through because this business is so fast paced.”
            Some people may think the business of radio is dying, but Lang disagrees with them.
            “Some teachers will tell you radio is dying, it’s not.  It’s changing.  It’s morphing so quietly that people don’t notice, and we can’t spend the time telling them.  Our listeners are changing with us, as well, so in a way, we don’t have to tell them,” said Lang.
            He used the example of how Clear Channel Radio is now referred to as Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  This is because they are not only their own radio stations, but they own half of XM radio and the 13th most popular app, “I Heart Radio.”  They also own outdoor billboards, TV stations, and so on.
            When asked if Lang had any advice on young professionals trying to break into the business he advised them to do an internship where they will get to see first hand how people are and how to deal with unique, artistic people.
            “The phrase ‘different folks, different strokes’ really applies in this business,” Lang joked.
            During their time at their internships, Lang says students will learn that “with some people you have to have thick skin, some you need to hug, and some you just know won’t make it in this business.”
            He cautions that when you make friends in this business you will always find yourself working with them in the future and to stay employed you’ll find it is what you know, and most certainly who you know.  He admits that not everyone is meant for radio but for the few who make it their life, “they call it their choice of drug, because once it’s in you, you won’t want to stop.”

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Obesity Prevention - J436 Writing Assignment

So, this wasn't an opinion piece, but I feel it's well-researched and could potentially help if you are someone looking to change to a healthier lifestyle through diet & exercise: Here are some "How to Be Healthy 101 Basics" :

Whether you have recently had a health scare, are currently overweight or feel you are at a healthy weight, you can benefit from taking steps to preventing obesity and the related health problems that come with it.

If you feel you are currently at risk of becoming obese, the first step you should take is to visit your doctor. They can run a variety of blood tests and conduct a physical exam to determine if you have any underlying health problems that have lead to your weight gain, such as a slow metabolism or thyroid problem. They could also identify other conditions that could affect your weight loss regimen, such as high blood pressure or a predisposition to diabetes. Once you understand your current condition, your doctor can help you develop a weight loss strategy.

The first step to any weight management plan is to exercise regularly. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, you need to get 150 to 250 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week to prevent weight gain. An example of “moderate-intensity activity” would include fast walking and swimming.

The next step to preventing obesity is watching what you eat. suggests eating “low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods,” such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Avoid saturated fats and limit sweets and alcohol.

One way to keep track of what you eat is to keep a food journal. Use this journal to write down what, when and how much you eat, how you’re feeling when you eat, and how hungry you are. This will help you identify situations that trigger out-of-control eating, so you can learn ways to change these habits.

In addition to these strategies mentioned above, you should also monitor your weight regularly. According to, people who weigh themselves at least once a week are more successful in keeping off excess pounds. Monitoring your weight can help you detect small weight gains before they become big health problems.

Lastly, to ensure you maintain a healthy lifestyle, you must be consistent. That means sticking to your diet and exercise plan when it is difficult, such as on weekends, and amidst vacations and holidays as much as possible. It is important to remember that as long as it took to put the weight on, it may take equally as long to take it off, and the only way to ensure results is to make a lifestyle change towards healthy living.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tipsy Trivia: Stumbling Their Way to the Top

Tipsy Trivia, an SGTV television program created and run by two USC students, has generated a substantial local fan-base. The creators, Krista Bagley and Laura Kuhen, both senior broadcast journalism majors, are implementing their entrepreneurial skills in the hopes of taking their program to the next level and achieving national exposure on a major network.

The notion for the tipsy television show struck Kuhen while she was in a similar state of mind.

“Laura came up with the idea of creating a drunk trivia show one night over summer break when she was, well, drunk,” Bagley explained, chuckling at the intended irony. “When we got back to school, she told me about the idea and we decided to join SGTV together. We came up with the name Tipsy Trivia, decided we would film at the fountain in Five Points, and well, the rest is history.”

The first episode of Tipsy Trivia aired in September 2009 as a sex education trivia challenge. The show started off as a three-to-five minute segment, which aired during SGTV’s entertainment news show, “Talk of the Town.” During August of this school year, Tipsy Trivia was given their own 30-minute time slot.

Since its start in September of last year, Tipsy Trivia has generated a significant fan-base at the university. Bagley and Kuhen have taken it upon themselves to be, not only, the writers, directors, and producers, but also their own pubic relations team.

“We’re pretty much a walking Tipsy Trivia campaign”, Bagley stated. “We wear silly costumes and homemade Tipsy Trivia shirts on our ‘off-nights’ just to simply promote the show. Filming our show downtown is a great way to spread the word, because when people either see us filming or participate in the show themselves, they become interested in what we are doing, and want to become fans. Going downtown is also a great way to promote, because we will run into participants who have no recollection of being on the show, and they will go home and watch it, show it to their friends, and all become fans!”

Bagley and Kuhen also promote the show by utilizing social networking sites such as Facebook, SGTV’s website, Blip TV’s website, a video blog at and YouTube, where they post random comedy sketches, full episodes, blogs, and their comedy segment “Top 5,” which they produce for USC’s “Talk of the Town”. Last January they also organized a promotional blitz week, which has since resulted in the following of 200 additional fans to Tipsy Trivia’s Facebook page.

Their accomplishments thus far, aside from generating a significant fan base, include a front-page article of “The Daily Gamecock” and two successful percent nights at Village Idiot and Z-Pizza. Additionally their “Southern Twang” episode has just received the highest number of hits for Blip TV with 1,114 views.

With all the hype surrounding the show, the girls have even bigger plans for the show’s future.

“Our vision for Tipsy Trivia is to take it on the road to do a campus crawl and do episodes at famous college campuses around the country,” said Bagley, “Our justification for the show actually working out is that college kids will always drink, and everyone loves trivia, so we will never run out of material.”

Kuhen interned at Comedy Central in California last summer, so over spring break she took a trip and consulted with her old supervisors about how to go about pitching their show to major networks. Following their advice, the girls have created a Tipsy Trivia pitch DVD, which explains what the show is about, along with their future goals for the program. They are also working on trademarking the name “Tipsy Trivia” before they pitch it to major networks, so no one can take it.

Unfortunately, very few major networks accept unsolicited pitches, so in order for them to pitch the idea they would have to contact a production company or an agent to get an unofficial meeting. Not wanting to do this, Bagley said she has devised a way to get around the system.

“Because Laura and I are the queens of networking, marketing, and PR,” she joked, “I talked with a family friend named Gary Brooks who worked at Turner in Atlanta, and he is very interested in the show and wants us to get it trade-marked ASAP, because he also works with development at TRUTV, and he thinks they would pick it up, as well as other channels at Turner, so he is going to help us set up meetings and actually pitch the show!”

Bagley and Kuhen plan to take a year off after graduation to continue producing episodes, promoting the show, and pursuing the contacts they have made thus far. They also plan to take Tipsy Trivia on the road and film at other nearby campuses such as UGA and COFC.

In the more immediate future, they intend to complete their “I Love the 90s” episode sometime this week and are in the process of producing a compilation segment titled, “Best of Tipsy Trivia 2010-2011.” Tomorrow, they will be filming a special segment in honor of 4/20 called, “Toker Trivia”, followed by an “All-Star” episode next Friday where their craziest, drunkest competitors will come back to compete against each other in a reunion special.

From chasing down drunk kids in Five Points to rolling around Strom field in mullet wigs, these girls are willing to go to incredible and hilarious lengths to make their dream a reality.

“All in all, we dream big, and we will not settle for being average,” said Bagley, “Tipsy Trivia is a once in a lifetime idea, and we intend to do all we can to make it to the top.”

Thursday, March 31, 2011

If he's not asking you to Cup...

For my own personal spin on the classic, "Hes Just Not That Into You" theory, I present you with the idea: "If hes not asking you to Cup......." Maybe hes just not that into you? A discouraging thought, but a valid one, indeed.
For those of you who don't know...Carolina Cup is a highly-anticipated staple in most USC students' spring semesters, with over 60 thousand people expected to attend this year alone. It is a day where rage-advocates travel to Camden, SC to support the steeplechase horse racing event.... by never actually seeing the race itself, but by instead tailgating on the surrounding grassy knoll.
Fratstars, head-to-toe in preppy pastels, and sundress-sporting sorostitutes adorned with pearl necklaces and big, floppy hats show up at the crack of dawn to begin their annihilation by ripping shots of the cheapest bourbon you can find at Greene's (or the grog shop if you're super sketchy). The rage lasts for the remainder of the day until students stumble back onto their buses, most missing at least one item they came with (camera, phone, shoes, shirt, etc.).
So, to those of you who consider dressing up to go party with thousands of your closest friends a good time, I'm with you. What I don't understand, however, is why people are choosing to forego the occasion just because they are dateless. I was in attendance last year, and I don't believe I stumbled upon an awkward "singles" table where those who did not arrive arm-in-arm with a frat-tastic counterpart were shunned to.
I'm not referring just to single gals, either. I know plenty of girls who aren't going because their current fling fed them a line as to why he wouldn't be able to take them this year--leaving them name just a few: "I didn't think about it until now, and the bus is already full"...."No ones really going with dates this year"..."I thought you were going with somebody else"....
and my ultimate favorite: "I can't afford my ticket PLUS yours."
While there are always exceptions, most likely if you were fed one of these lines the sad truth is.... he's probably just not that into you.
My reasoning:
While $45 dollars seems like a hefty fine for him to dish out for your ticket at first, consider the amount of money he routinely spends at the liquor store, or on late-night munchie runs at Sonic, or on miscellaneous items, like a new camo collar for his black lab (ultimate frat dog).
When you look at the situation in perspective, cutting a few corners to save up for your ticket isn't that big of a deal, and that's if he actually earns his own money--which very few of them do. If he doesn't have a job (besides fratting hard 24 hours a day) they have even less of an excuse. This means he was just too lazy to call up mom and dad (who probably love you anyway) and ask for a few extra bucks. Super lame. An additional side note: tickets are available at the Colonial Life Arena, meaning he doesn't even have to use real money to purchase them--a quick deposit of funny money on the old Carolina Card would suffice.
My point: The days of worrying about having a date ended after senior prom. If your frat star is falling short and throwing you one of these lines...Forget him. Ditch the drama. Go with your friends. Look Fabulous. Live it up while you can, because life is too short, and college is even shorter.

Monday, November 29, 2010

USC Students Learn to Balance Academics and Extracurriculars

Chelsea Corriveau, a junior, business management major at the University of South Carolina, has learned to utilize her time management skills in order to succeed both in and outside of the classroom. In addition to a 15-credit course load, Corriveau is involved in a laundry list of extracurricular activities. She is a member of the executive board for University Ambassadors, on social committee for Phi Mu Sorority, along with being involved in intramural sports and volunteering as a Special Olympics coach. Of all her extra curriculars, however, her most time consuming is being an active member, social chair and concert chair for the Cocktails, the university’s first and only all female a cappella group.

During a regularly scheduled week, Chelsea practices with the Cocktails for two hours, two nights a week and performs weekly concerts. “It’s a really big time commitment,” said Corriveau, “I feel like I work on it as much as I do my school work.” In addition to the weekly responsibilities associated with the Cocktails, Chelsea’s schedule has the potential to get even busier. Recently, for example, the Cocktails were 1 of 6 schools chosen out of fifty to compete in the Soja A Capella Festival, the biggest a capella festival in the Southeast. Preparation for the festival required the girls to attend rigorous daily 2-hour rehearsals.

With the amount of time these extracurriculars require, Corriveau finds herself having to make sacrifices in order to fit it all in. She admits it is sometimes unavoidable for these activities to cut into study time, causing her to cram for tests last minute, and not score as highly as she knows she would have if she gave her full attention to the material. In addition, Corriveau finds her busy schedule cuts into her social life as well. “I don’t get to spend as much time with my friends or roommates as I want to, because if I have free time it’s usually spent working on my Cocktails music or catching up on schoolwork.” Although Chelsea is faced with the challenge of juggling multiple activities, she is certainly not the only student at USC who must make these sacrifices.

With a diverse and abundant array of student organizations offered at the University of South Carolina, it is quite common for USC students to be involved in activities outside of the classroom. There are over 300 registered student organizations offered to student life. The Student Organizations website states, “Students on Carolina’s campus have created groups with interests in everything from the appreciation of techno music to playing winter sports, from politics to dance, and from foreign language to community service.” Considering the large number of students involved in these organizations, each program offers tools to help students like Chelsea manage their time in order to get the most out of the programs offered while still succeeding academically.

Each student organization is required to have an advisor through the Department of Student Life who is selected from full-time faculty or administrative staff members. Each advisor’s goal is to encourage positive interaction between teaching/administrative staff and students involved in student organizations. Advisors are instructed to engage in periodic discussions with student leaders about their expectations of the advisory relationship. Both the advisors and leaders/officers are asked to set expectations ahead of time about the level of advisor-involvement in the student organization as well as their preferred methods of communication between students and staff. It is the advisors’ hope that by encouraging communication between students and staff they will not only prevent miscommunication, but also keep members of the organization engaged.

Through her personal experience, Chelsea Corriveau has utilized tools such as these, along with the guidance of older Cocktails members, to learn how to juggle her responsibilities. She admits the reason she is willing to take on the responsibility of so many activities is because she actually enjoys the rush of her demanding schedule. “I’m the type of person who needs to be busy in order to feel balanced. I get different satisfactions from all the different things I do. I play intramural sports to satisfy my competitive side. I volunteer at the visitor’s center because I love to interact with people and to come home at the end of the day knowing I helped someone.”

Corriveau did not choose to participate in Cocktails solely to occupy spare time, however. Like many of her peers in student organizations, she chose the program to pursue a passion of hers she has been interested in her entire life. Growing up, she was involved with music-oriented activities, and planned to pursue it at a collegiate level. “I love to sing and I wanted to major in something having to do with musical theatre but they didn’t have a program for that here. I was in chamber choir and musical theatre my whole life-it is my favorite happy thing to do. Through Cocktails I am able to pursue my passion everyday and I know I wouldn’t be as happy without it.”

Though her schedule is hectic, Chelsea Corriveau is one of many students at USC who has successfully achieved a balance between academic responsibilities and extracurricular and social activities. Through student organizations such as Cocktails, she is able to continue pursuing passions in college she could not have otherwise and is confident she will be able to act as a role model for future students who aspire to do the same.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

SLED's Shift in Focus from Student Safety to Busting Underage Drinkers

Kayla Gasbarro


The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, most recognizable to USC students when referred to as “SLED”, works alongside USC Campus Police and Columbia City Police to help keep Five Points and the surrounding areas of Columbia safe. Their objective is defined on their website, stating, “The primary mission of the State Law Enforcement Division is to provide quality manpower and technical assistance to law enforcement agencies and to conduct investigations on behalf of the state as directed by the Governor and Attorney General.” SLED is composed of a number of divisions, a few of which being Alcohol Enforcement, Homeland Security Office, Private Investigations, Sex Offender Registry and Counter Terrorism. The division also features an Amber Alert section, which explains how the South Carolina Amber Alert works, where it originated, and how it plays a role in the community to help prevent abductions and locate missing children. This section contains Amber Alert forms, where you can report a child who has gone missing in the state of South Carolina. It also offers abduction and kidnapping prevention tips for parents. Their website also includes a “news and press” section that features major news stories that SLED has played a role in, from undercover investigations to community service projects to numerous arrests.

With all the good SLED is doing for the community, it was surprising to discover most USC students only associate the law enforcement division with one thing: busting underage drinkers. There is no doubting that underage drinking is a renowned past time for college students and prevalent among students at USC. On the busiest night of the week, Thirsty Thursday, the streets of Five Points are flooded with hundreds of students eager to take advantage of dollar beer and liquor specials at bars such as Village Idiot, Pour House, Dr. Rocco’s and Parrot Heads. It is common among these individuals to use fake-IDs to get into bars, and until recently, they had been getting away with it.

SLED officers have been cracking down on underage drinking and making their presence more prominent in Five Points. SLED has been known to utilize methods such as bar raids and undercover operations, where young officers dress as USC students and approach under-agers at bars. A sophomore student who prefers to remain anonymous considering the nature of her situation, recalled her experience with an undercover SLED officer at Parrot Heads in Five Points,

“A normal-looking guy dressed like everyone else approached me while I was sitting at the bar and asked if I wanted a drink. As soon as I agreed, he asked me for identification. I thought he was joking, so I handed him my sister’s ID I had used to get into the bar. He then told me he was a police officer and that I had to come outside with him. The next thing I knew I was being cuffed and thrown in the back of a police car.”

She spent the night in Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center and was charged with various misdemeanors for underage drinking and possessing a fake ID.

Although underage drinking is unlawful, students are beginning to question whether undercover task forces such as these are taking it too far, especially considering the recently escalated crime rate in Five Points. The general consensus among USC students is that they do not feel safe downtown despite the abundance of police officers on duty every night.

Haley Parler, a junior electronic journalism student at USC expresses her concerns about student safety in Five Points, and the precautions she has taken since her most recent personal experience downtown.

“I don’t feel safe there. The only time I went to Five Points this year was after the UGA game and someone got shot. I’ve noticed after a certain time Five Points seems to get ridden with more and more of these people in gangs, trying to corner you and talk to you as you are walking.”

She discussed the issue further, elaborating on SLED’s reputation around campus, saying,

“I think many students at USC see SLED as the enemy who is trying to bust them, hand out tickets and take away their IDs. If SLED were to relax on the underage drinking and focus more on keeping students safe we would probably have a more favorable representation of them.”

Peter Boland, a fourth-year economics major offers another perspective on the situation, because he deals with it nightly. Peter works as a bouncer four nights a week at Pour House, one of the most popular bars in Five Points. When asked if through his nightly observations of the crowd in Five Points he thought it was a safe place for students, he raised an eyebrow, laughed as if the question was intended to be sarcastic and knowingly replied, “No, not safe at all.”

He expressed his opinion on SLED, saying they don’t seem to care about students getting from bar to bar safely, only about giving people tickets for drinking. Although he does not feel personally threatened by the criminal activity in Five Points, he agrees with the student consensus stating,

“I could see why everyone feels unsafe here with all the gang activity and shootings that happen, especially on the weekends. The cops don’t seem to care. People sit around the fountain bother students by yelling obscene things as they walk by. The cops don’t say anything to them even though they could easily ticket them for loitering, at least to get them to leave people alone.”

Overall, the student perception of SLED seems to be unfavorable even with all the good they are doing among the community. When asked what students thought would change their perception of SLED, the general feeling was that they wanted to see undercover officers change out of their disguises and pursue the criminal activity that is jeopardizing students’ safety.

Boland commented on this point stating,

“They should focus more on what is going on outside the bars than inside them, and not just target the students, because they usually aren’t the ones causing all the trouble.”

Jennifer Marsh, a third grade teacher and graduate of Duquesne University in Pennsylvania, recalled her memories from college. She remembers 25 years ago when she would use a fake ID she made herself to get into bars in downtown Pittsburgh. She says police were not nearly as worried about underage drinking as they are now, stating,

“The most they would do is if you were falling down drunk, they would give you a ride home to make sure you got back safely. If you gave them a hard time they would call your parents and have them deal with it, then drop you off at your dorm and go out to deal with the real criminals out there. I don’t think it is a serious enough issue for kids to be getting thrown in over-populated city jails for. It’s like they have shifted their focus from making sure kids are safe when they are on their own and away at college, to how much money they can rack up in fines any given night.”

It is safe to say the popular past time of college students will remain despite SLED’s efforts. The students would prefer to see SLED concentrate on the crime that is already so prevalent in Five Points and punish those who are intentionally and directly threatening the safety of students, rather than distributing fines and misdemeanors to unsuspecting under-agers.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"Cherish your solitude.

Take trains by yourself to places you have never been.

Sleep alone under the stars.

Learn how to drive a stick shift.

Go so far away that you stop being afraid of not coming back.

Say no whenever you don't want to do something.

Say yes if your instincts are strong,

even if everyone around you disagrees.

Decide whether you want to be liked or admired.

Decide if fitting in is more important than finding out what you're doing here."

-Eve Ensler