ST. CLOUD -- A group of adventurous students from St. Cloud Cloud State University are about to get their first, or for some their second lesson on working in the real world.

A team of about 20 students will help operate a radio station on the grounds of one of the largest air shows and fly-in conventions in the world, the Experimental Aircraft Association's AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Students are led by Jim Gray and Thomas Balistreri. Gray is a mass communications professor at St. Cloud State as well as the Operations Manager for SCSU's campus radio station KVSC. Gray says the station students will be running, EAA Radio is only used for AirVenture.

"The idea here is that it's a very intense course, it takes place over 11 days where we build the station. We have to physically build the electronics and haul in the gear. I have sponsors from the radio broadcast industry that loan us some gear, so I build a fully functioning top notch studio for a radio station that only exists for a week a year."

Gray and Balistreri are EAA Radio's Station Managers. The station is usually up and running the weekend before AirVenture begins, which is the same time interns will start to arrive. The convention kicks off Monday and runs through Sunday, July 29th.

Gray says throughout the week-long event, interns will be exposed to just about every aspect of operating a radio station. He says it's not just like working in the real world, it is the real world.

"There's production, there's writing, there's news. I have a staff of two people here that are doing news. So they will be doing news reporting of the things that are happening on field. We have people that are technical producers for our programming. I have a staff of almost 20 aviation experts that are my on-air staff, they know aviation but they know nothing about radio. My student staff here really bridge that gap for them."

Spencer Schacht will be one of the two news directors for EAA Radio this year. This will be Schacht's second year doing EAA. Most students intern for two years. Schacht says last year he learned the value of time.

"Being the news intern I have deadlines throughout the day. I have to get a new two minute news segment in at three different times during the day and if I don't have enough interviews for one I'll have to run out to the field, get a couple more interviews, come back, have time to edit it, voice it over and put it up on the airwaves. It's really taught me time management, how to go out, get a quick interview, edit quickly and then come back and put it all together."

Looking ahead to this year Schacht says he's not thrilled he'll be getting up at the crack of dawn but it's well worth it to be a part of the Morning Pre-Flight Show.

Along with production, news and producing, interns also are responsible for assisting with remote broadcasts and recording events on the field. One meteorologist also comes with from SCSU's meteorology department. The student meteorologist is responsible for updating weather forecasts throughout the day both recorded and live.

"Basically with the exception of the meteorologist we rotate everyone through all of those positions. The students are going to see the creation, the birth, the life and the death of the radio station over the course of 11 days."

During their 11 day stay, interns have to pitch a tent, but Gray says it's not like camping in the middle of the woods.

"There are showers, there are grocery stores on field but there is also rain. It just so happens that we had a pretty good storm go through here last night and woke up to one of our interns absolutely soaking wet and is trying to find a laundry mat and maybe a new tent."

Unfortunately, sometimes the rain can put a damper on the Oshkosh experience but because some of the aviation experts live close by, they graciously help out the intern in need.

Gray says it's a combination of professional lessons and life lessons that make being an EAA Radio intern a memorable experience. Over the years, past interns will come back to volunteer and stay in touch with each other. He says doing the internship often helps students achieve their career goals.

If you'd like to learn more about EAA Radio follow the link below.

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