WNUR Sports Social Media Director Cameron Songer (@CameronSonger) explains how his college experience has been shaped by his time and involvement with WNUR.
College is confusing enough. There are days when staying awake during a history lecture or working through a problem set for an econ class seem to push my brain to its limits. Yet there is one thing I’m not sure I will ever understand, and that is the “college experience” everyone talks about.
Everyone seems to think of college differently. Sure, it’s a time to learn in classrooms and develop a sense of independence, but what about the rest of the time? Why do so many people look back at college as the best years of their lives? The more people I ask, the more the idea of brotherhood or sisterhood comes up. For many, the feeling of belonging to a group of people who share many of your interests and enjoy your company is the highlight of the college years.
For many people, a fraternity or a sorority meets that need. For me, it is WNUR Sports.
My brothers and sisters at WNUR Sports welcomed me before I even arrived on campus as a freshman, and I was immediately hooked. Sure, there are plenty of other outlets on campus to argue about the relative merits of Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian, but nowhere else can you find the characters and the camaraderie of WNUR Sports. I can’t overstate how important it has been for me to have a group of people who accept me, and, in the case of the more experienced staffers, offer advice on broadcasting, academics, and campus life.
Before I bore you to death with fuzziness, allow me to switch it up and talk about the actual broadcasting experience WNUR Sports has offered. When I came to Northwestern, I had no sports broadcasting experience, just a vague notion that I wanted to do “sports journalism.” Within the first month, I was on the air, helping out with the morning news. As a freshman, I broadcast a bunch of women’s basketball and softball and gained valuable experience.
The following summer, I was able to parlay that experience into an internship with a college summer baseball team, the San Luis Obispo Blues. I spent six weeks living on my own, doing a mix of play-by-play and color commentary almost every night. After less than a year of broadcast experience, I got my first taste of the business, and it was delicious. My summer would have been impossible without the experience I gained at WNUR Sports and the advice and encouragement from other staff members.
I’m now in my second year on campus and my second year as a broadcaster. I have taken on more of a leadership role at the station with the hopes that I can help the current crop of freshman as I was welcomed a year ago. I’m continuing to improve as a broadcaster as I continue to take on new challenges. I can say now with complete certainty that sports broadcasting is what I want to do with the rest of my life.
Sportsathon 2012, then, is a humbling time. It offers a chance to reflect on where I was a year ago— an inexperienced freshman making his first road trip to help with a broadcast at Iowa— as well as where I am today and where I want to be.
I may never understand those complicated economic models, but I do realize that my “college experience” would be impossible without WNUR Sports, and WNUR Sports wouldn’t be possible without the generous contributions of our fans.