I don’t know how many parents have gone through this: One of your children expresses a desire to follow in your footsteps in their career. It is flattering and disconcerting at the same. Flattering in that they think highly enough of you to want to emulate you, but disconcerting in that you know the many pitfalls they will face.

My oldest son is a junior at Montclair State University where he is majoring in Journalism with a concentration in Broadcast Communications. He started working at the campus radio station (WMSC) the first semester of his freshman year and has stayed there ever since. He is now the assistant Sports Director and does play-by-play for the school’s athletic teams and has his own show on the weekends. While I am happy to give him any help and encouragement I can, part of me wishes he would pick a different course of study. I know what a crappy business this can be, with format flips, ratings fluctuations, changing tastes, and unprecedented competition from other media. Radio’s death knell has been sounded many times before with the advent of movies, then television, and now, the internet. Still, over 90% of Americans still listen to over the air radio at least once a week, which is some serious audience penetration.

I see my son and his colleagues at the college radio station and I am heartened by their enthusiasm for a medium many have pronounced dead. It makes me optimistic that bright young people are still desirous of being in the broadcast field when they have so many other options.

But with all the misgivings I have, I must admit, I get a much bigger thrill out of hearing my son on the radio than I ever got hearing myself.

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