Digital Media + Entertainment Workforce Development Council Meeting
This event took place Friday, December 6th, 2019 at Entercom – 5670 Wilshire Blvd Suite 200, Los Angeles
This quarterly meeting brings local digital media & entertainment industry experts together with faculty to discuss hot issues, new skills requirements, pathways into occupations, new programs and much more. These meetings are also great opportunities to develop relationships that lead to work-based learning opportunities.
Entercom Communications Corp. is a leading American media and entertainment company reaching and engaging over 170 million people each month through its premier collection of highly rated, award winning radio stations, digital platforms and live events. As one of the country’s two largest radio broadcasters, Entercom offers integrated marketing solutions and delivers the power of local connection on a national scale with coverage of close to 90% of persons 12+ in the top 50 markets. They are the #1 creator of live, original, local audio content and the nation’s unrivaled leader in news and sports radio.
Jeff Federman, President and Regional Manager, from Entercom (Radio.com) presented a business overview of the company. He stated that “corporate culture” is important, and they work hard to make work fun as well as informative. Entercom currently employs 350 to 400 staff. Entercom is an audio company – via streaming anywhere not just radio.
I. INDUSTRY TRENDS
a) Entercom just purchased largest podcast company in the world. The podcast business is a fast-growing business.
b) The radio industry has changed from simple on-air programming to full media access. It is an exciting growth time – audio has replaced yellow pages. Audio connects with people more than paper ever did in the past.
c) The radio business allows for the opportunity to get actual radio experience on a parttime basis. Generally, 50 to 60 part time jobs are open as the revolving door. There are 150 engineers working now at radio.com (mostly in the NYC headquarters office).
d) Jeff reviewed the future of radio, stating that today’s reach is as high as it has ever been. The west coast business is way ahead of the rest of the country. Radio is extremely resilient (not like television). Radio is undergoing a renaissance – smart speakers – fastest tech growth – making life extremely easy to listen anywhere and anytime. Entercom holds numerous summer events. They launched a LGBTQ radio last year which has been a very successful radio station ideated and handled by the LA staff; it has given a voice to a much-needed group of people. Jeff also serves as an advisor at Santa Monica College working to bridge the recruitment of the talent pipeline.
II. INDUSTRY OPPORTUNITIES
a) At the time of this meeting, there were 15 job openings at Entercom in LA. In particular, Entercom was looking now for Director of Digital Sales – (couldn’t find the right person).
b) Entercom’s New York City headquarters and its Philadelphia office hires advanced data programmers and engineers. This team of programmers and engineers work in predictive analytics for advertising and closing sales.
III. MIDDLE SKILLS JOB MARKET (Current and future outlook)
a) New hires must have an actual interest in what the radio does as a “for profit” but also new hires should be interested in what Entercom does extensively – community involvement. They must have some allegiance and passion for what Entercom does.
b) Sales hires now come from very varied background. Entercom hires for talent, not skill and experience.
c) Entercom is looking for new hires with soft skills such as communication and some level of technical skills such as Excel, PPT, and Outlook. The heart of radio
business is communication and building relationships; therefore, new hires need to be good at building relationship with potential clients, listeners, and performing
d) Communication skills are the most important. Entercom receives many resumes with numerous typos and poor writing. New hires must have presentation skills and
the ability to communicate and connect.
e) Entercom hires people who are good workers and then they invest in them – by nurturing and training. The hiring mindset is to train a skill set. Skills are more
important than education and some executives at Entercom have no college education.
f) Entercom has openings now for graphic designers, web and content management, and social media managers. They need people who are a “Jack of all trades.”
g) When they look for the best communicator, they are looking for the BEST Listener who can ask open ended questions and can set up the next question based on the answer.
IV. WORK BASED LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES (Support internships, apprenticeships, job shadows, etc.)
Danielle Mosher created a talent incubator at Entercom for high school and college students come in and learn about the radio business. One student intern in the program has converted to full time staff.
V. FACULTY PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT WITH INDUSTRY PARTNERS
a) GPA is not an issue. Entercom looks for resumes for what an applicant did in while in school and how were they moving forward in a career. Even Chipotle is helpful to see on a resume as it demonstrates work experience in the real world in addition to classroom experience. There are times when Entercom tells an applicant to back when they have some real-life experience.
b) Educators must push students to get out and experience life then students or graduates will come in for an interview much more confidently and richly experienced.
c) Jeff is on the Board at SMCC with a role guiding curriculum development and assisting in understanding what students need to learn now for getting hired in the media industry.
d) Jeff invites all the students in to tour Entercom offices and learn about jobs and business.
LA COUNTY ARTS COLLECTIVE
Shoni Monet Doe, from the LA County Arts Collective; who is also a Youth Advisory Council Member, spoke about his experience as a student. He expressed how he worked hard to leverage resources as a student at SMCC. He asked the question, “how do we take all resources to create a pipeline to skills and a future job?” He joined the media club and learned editing (shooting clips). He went to digital Hollywood and other tech events to become a youth ambassador. He and others
created a fitness app to help students and educators to address health and fitness challenges. Shoni stated that he sees one thing in particular that is needed most by students, “Adulting 101”.
VII. COMMUNITY COLLEGE PROGRAMS, CERTIFICATES, COURSES
Academy Gold presented regarding their program for diverse talent development. They have a program that offers curriculum, panels, and workshops on diversity and talent development through a 360-enhancement program for internships. The internship enhancement focuses on skills and the right educational information to be successful. It is a one-year long program. The program includes education, networking, professionals in large and small settings, and a mentorship program. The Alumni program provides access to fellowships and stipends. The education program looks to find students in their last year of advanced schooling.
VIII. INDUSTRY CHALLENGES
a) Homelessness: Homelessness is an issue for current students – about 25% at some community colleges are homeless. The company #lunchbag is currently assisting homeless student by making sandwiches for that group of people. Suicide prevention action is needed. Soft skills are often lacking in new recruits and Entercom would like to see better social skills and work ethic skills in new hires.
b) Talent Gaps: There are talent gaps in technical skills area although software can be easily trained (rated analysis). New hires should be competent with basic excel and ppt but not photoshop level. Short fall is communication skills and poor grammar and written work. Lack of general business intelligence with the talent pipe line: General business intelligence is lacking – how does your business fall into the larger scheme of things. Also, general social skills such as eye contact, opening doors, please and thank you. Social graces are need both internally with co-workers and externally to clients. Many new college grads don’t understand LinkedIn,
etc. and “adulting” process. College to Real World Gaps: There is a gap between college and the real world – generally new grads do not know where to focus. Now grads have an entitlement or deserving mentally – advice go as humble as can be and have the ability to have an “all hands in” mindset. Those that succeed
must have a “how can I help” attitude and they get appreciated, recognized, and promoted.
- Jessica Ku Kim, LAEDC Sr. Director of Workforce Development
- Jeff Federman, Regional President, Entercom Southern California
- Larry Blumhagen, VP, Director of Sales, Entercom Los Angeles
- Pablo Chaparro, Director of Digital Sales, Entercom Los Angeles
- Danielle Mosher, Executive Director, Entercom Southern California
- Niti Shah, Academy Gold Inclusion + Alumni Programs, Academy Gold
- Bettina Fisher, Educational Initiatives, Academy Gold
For more information, email [email protected].