by: Steve McAlee, ’14
NOTE: Steve McAlee ’14 joined Andrew Pham ’15, Matthew Popo ’12 and Sean McDonald ’04 on this College Radio Day White House visit. Steve recalls the experience for Lion Tales in our first alumnus-authored blog post.
Of all places to be when I received an invitation to the White House as a delegate with the College Radio Day Foundation, I was ironically in the WZBC AM studio, finishing up my weekly sports radio show. Sean McDonald, the president of College Radio Day, had just offered me the chance of a lifetime! Sean has helped me tremendously in expanding the optionality of WZBC Sports Radio, the student-run sports radio club at Boston College, and was calling to formally invite me to join him and 17 other college students and faculty members from universities across the country on a trip to the nation’s capital on October 27th. To say I was honored and ecstatic about the opportunity would not do a justice to what I was feeling as a walked back to my dorm that night. Despite the hectic nature of October and November in college, this was a phenomenal opportunity that I could not pass up, a memory I would carry with me forever.
College radio is a very unique medium of expression that rightfully deserves the day of celebration that it receives through the College Radio Day Foundation. I have been involved with WZBC Sports Radio since early in my freshman year. I have worked to give this club these outlets of expression that college radio promises. Not only is a private trip to the White House an unbelievably cool opportunity, it also enabled me to bring my personal experiences from college radio and combine them with those of other students from around the country.
The group and I talked with several key people within the Obama Administration about college affordability, climate change, and the general importance of the press. It was fascinating to see each student’s own take on the issues and what they were passionate about in relation to the big decisions facing the country. I asked John King, Jr., the Secretary of Education, if he thought the traditional model of college was becoming outdated. He answered by explaining that colleges need to continue to innovate and this gave me a new perspective on the world in which I am living at college. I was also able to ask about the changing landscape of the automotive industry in relation to the environment with Brian Deese, a Senior Presidential Advisor. We discussed how the future of mobility could drastically alter urban spaces and the larger economy. It was just so cool to see the conversation come full circle with all of the other students and the perspectives of the experts to whom we spoke.
Visiting the White House with the College Radio Day team was an ever better trip than I could have anticipated, and I will take all that I learned from that incredible day back to BC to continue fostering the medium of college radio. My journey to a roundtable with top governmental advisors, however, did not start when I signed up for the sports radio club two years ago. It began years earlier when I worked in the WCOH TV Studio at O’Hara as both a control room operator and later as the director. I loved every second of my time in WCOH, especially how the daily TV show was a platform to allow my voice to come through to the whole school. WCOH was the start of my passion for broadcasting, and although I am a business major at BC, I treasure the chances to get behind the mic and speak about what matters to me. I owe those opportunities to people like Sean, and to all the great people I met through WCOH, to the O’Hara community, and to the friends and advisors at Boston College.
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