Big city internship in radio world

By Gillian Davis
September 11, 2008

Almost being run over by three bright yellow taxi cabs in a row opened my eyes to the fact that I was no longer in my small, country town in Connecticut. The transition to living in New York City was incredibly jarring and terrifying.

I was so used to walking down Main Street and having every car slow down to holler my name and wave. Now I was walking down concrete sidewalks, avoiding any eye contact.

I only experienced this because I became a promotional intern at 95.5 WPLJ radio. When I accepted this internship, I had no idea what I was getting myself into! I couldn’t get over the fact that I had just left my one-stoplight town to a hectic block-walking, subway-riding, taxi-calling city.

To state the obvious, I was out of my element.

After a few days, I calmed down. I learned where my apartment was, after getting lost the first day, and also what subways to take. I also discovered the most important lesson immediately. I found out how to avoid the cat-calling who informed me I had “nice cupcakes.” I’m still not sure what he was referring to.

What ultimately helped me adjust to this new paced life was my internship. Our job as promotional interns was to go around New York City and distribute T-shirts, key chains and other freebees.

Besides promoting around NYC, I was also given the chance to travel to different places. It wasn’t like we went abroad to shout out PLJ’s name, but we traveled all over New Jersey, went to upstate New York and a little bit of Connecticut.

The best part about going up and down and across the New York City region was that it usually meant we were promoting at concerts or festivals. Not only was I experiencing a great summer in the city, but I was also experiencing some of the best summer concert series.

The normal procedure for promoting outside of a concert venue would be to set up the promotional tent, table, prize-wheel and sound system. The interns would hop on the mic, shout out the station’s name, play some games with the listeners and hand out prizes.

Some interns were daring enough to start up karaoke with crowds. Unfortunately, many fans of the station had to hear my off-key, ear-piercing, glass- shattering, lack-of-range voice.

After the event, we were lucky enough to attend the concerts. I had the chance to see Coldplay, Hootie & the Blowfish, Maroon 5 and Counting Crows. Even though we didn’t have enough tickets, I could still hear “American Girl” resonating in the air as Tom Petty performed.

I even created great friendships throughout the internship. Two of my best friends still make fun of me to this day on being the girl who was adamant on using the crosswalks in the city rather than jay-walk.

Living and working in NYC was an incredible experience that I will never forget. I had a great time plunging into a totally different way of life.

I ended my summer by walking down the stairwell of the apartment, pausing at the landing to have a quick handshake with my neighbor. I walked out the front door, put on my sunglasses and iPod headphones in typical subway appearance code, and strutted down the sidewalk.

Even though living in the city was intensely different from my country roots, I couldn’t help but get absorbed by my job and all the wonderful experiences I had.

Gillian Davis

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