The Life and Times of a Post College
The First Week of Interning at NHPR’s Word of Mouth
By Ryan Edward Brown
Like an honorable dung beetle struck by majestic lighting or stale cat fish served atop a bed of greasy fries, my first week as an intern at Word Mouth went nothing like what was just iterated, but something close to what I was not and what I was suspecting. So something like this… In very short it was a great deal of fun, by comparison to what I was doing prior to landing said internship, which was endlessly job searching, playing with my parent’s 24 pound cat, and of course looking out picture windows with a patina of lament upon my brow, lost in the diminishing day light of early winter.
That aside, it was Thursday December First, I had just returned home after attending a strange group interview with an insurance company. The speaker was dropping business zing words faster than a butterscotched penguin could find an appropriate metaphor at a Sunday Sundae Party. Apart from phrases like “Skill Set” being used more than 20 times (which made me have an desire to play World of WarCraft ), company statistics were dropped to fill the pot holes in the suspiciously sounding presentation, Admiral Ackbar’s ( the orange fish alien from Star Wars The Return of the Jedi ) words rang true in my ears “ It’s a trap !”, so I left. As is the way with many things in life, another opportunity presented itself in the absence of successfully achieving status as a door to door union insurance salesman. This came with the presence of an email from Rebecca Lavoie, roughly stating that Word of Mouth was in need of interning. Thus I acquiesced, signing away heartfelt ponderings and early morning staring contests with my family’s giant cat.
The next day I was down at the station, wide eyed like a dolphin escaping a tuna fisherman’s net. Today was going to be a purely shadowy experience and of course I do mean I would be shadowing the Word of Mouth team, watching, listening, and determining whether or not I would return. By day’s end, after looking over shoulders, nodding awe struck with all the trappings needed to air an hour long radio program, and not to mention mild sensory overload from the exposure to new jargon and formats, I was then ready to make a decision, that being, I would return on Monday and begin proper intern work.
To save time, money, fruit bats, glaciers and other precious things to our hearts, I’ll condense my first week into a few memorable experiences, meditations, and high jinks (which there were none by the standard of tom foolery). The first perceivable insight arouse after a few days of interning, that being a certain disparity between what preparations college endows upon its serfs and that of the actual “real world” encounter. With that said, higher education should better integrate academic studies with real world applications of these skills. Meaning, I can write a lengthy tirade about Emily Dickenson’s poetry, but who outside of academia would care to hear about it? Still, other abilities transitioned better, like the ability to read material, compile notes and expedite said materials in a timely and well dressed manner.
One aspect that particularly right smarted and buttered my toast, was the horizontal thinking (?), of not just presenting the program by way of words on a script, but remembering to think of how the script will sound, it’s radio after all. Furthermore, getting use to writing something that Virginia would normally say on the show was another hurtle that I’m still hurtling.
Another rather fun aspect has been fiddling around with the various audio files, mixing them up, down, side to side and into other such dimensions. Though I’ve been simply getting my feet wet when it comes to this, familiarizing myself with the controls and subtle nuances of Adobe Audition. And so I remain only slightly submerged in this world of sound mixing. Continuing along in this sound speak, selecting music for segment in-s and out-s has been something of an enjoyable assignment. Having to think what pairing would be clever for what segment, not just sound wise, but also what is being said or not said in the song.
Anywho, my first week as an intern has overall been…most satisfactory. Hectic moments aside and the time spent looking off into a computer screen while the mother board tries to pass a techno stone, I will return for another week and will continue to do so, until by chance some nervous breakdown finds me bring possum meat burritos for lunch or exposure to radio broadcasts turns me into some ruinous hulking mass, though with a perfect face for radio. Well, I shall add more in time, but for the mean while I will leave you with the wise and enigmatic words of Tom Robbins“ Just as somewhere between beef jerky and Hostess Twinkies is the secret history of America”, until next time.