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June 27, 2018 Local DJ's message to Central Penn College students

By Greg Colburn, Communications Coordinator

Glenn Hamilton loves what he does. That’s obvious from just listening to him talk about his 35+ years in radio… from getting his start at the local station in Kerrville, Texas, as a teenager to his current role as the co-host of the popular “Glenn Hamilton and Amy Warner” morning show on The River 97.3, as well as the many stops in between.

Speaking to a classroom full of students, staff and faculty last week, Hamilton had many wise words for those seeking a career in radio, though his advice was applicable to many other fields as well.

“You have to be willing and ready to change,” he said. “I’ve seen too many older colleagues––who were slightly older than me––get bumped out because they refused to learn.”

The DJ was invited to speak at the monthly Knightly News Media Club meeting by President Brian Christiana (shown above, right, in photo with Hamilton), who also works part-time as a board operator at The River. “Glenn’s a great guy. He’s a leader in the industry… someone our club members can learn a lot from.”

Hamilton has been a mainstay on local radio for more than two decades since joining The River in 1992 as the afternoon DJ. Much like his on-air personality, he comes across as a down-to-earth, rock’n’roll-loving dad with an impish sense of humor, which is often directed at himself.

Radio’s hidden power 
iHeartRadio, the nationwide network that owns The River, reaches more people each month (273 million) than any other media company, including Google and Facebook, according to statistics shared by Hamilton.

“Can I tell you the real reason people listen to the radio? They want to hear everything’s okay,” said Hamilton, who is also the station’s program director. “It’s that human connection… you can’t get that with any other medium.”

Even though radio jobs have shrunken due to technological advances and media conglomeration, Hamilton predicts a brighter future: “I believe we are going to see a radio renaissance in the coming years.”

The veteran DJ bases his optimism on not only the connection factor, but also the proliferation of radio apps and smart speakers, such as the Amazon Echo, which makes it easier for people to listen to their favorite stations at home.

Job prospects
Hamilton encouraged students interested in becoming DJs to record themselves reading magazine ads and Wikipedia entries as a way to improve their intonation and inflection. He also said the best way to get involved in radio is start with a behind-the-scenes job in promotions, events or sales.

While the music fan in him laments the tightening of playlists, Hamilton’s also a realist: “We [radio stations] can’t afford to be jukeboxes anymore.” Yet despite all the changes and the competitive pressures, radio’s saving grace is “the human connection.”

“No matter the technology in the studio,” he said, “You’re still talking to one person.”