Sunday, September 30, 2007

It's The Audio Prof...Not the Radio Prof

I have mentioned earlier that I am in my tenure year...and happy to report that the faculty of my department have voted to send my case up to the next levels of consideration. While that is a cause for momentary celebration, it is only the beginning of a LONG process. There are, indeed, next of them (assuming I haven't forgotten one).

The case now goes to:
The College Committee
The Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences
The Dean of Faculties Committee
The Dean of Faculties
The University Provost
The University President
The Board of Trustees.

It's a long year. But tenure is a big deal--not only for the faculty candidate (trust me, it IS that), but also for the institution. So, they want to make sure that all those with a stake have a peek at every candidate.

Part of the documentation that the candidate must prepare is a personal statement explaining primarily how they came about their area of research interests...what they have done so far during their research careers...and what they will do later. So during that process I have been reminded of how important my experiences with radio were in guiding me to what I now do. Radio was an important companion for me as a child. It was an early career choice and what started my interest in exactly what attributes of radio messages can capture peoples' attention.

But, when I was a graduate student at IU, one of the most respected scholars in communication came to visit our department and give a talk to our lab group. His name is Byron Reeves, a Professor from Stanford. As is typical during informal talks like this one was, each grad student gave a brief introduction of their work. As you might expect, my introduction talked all about radio--explaining how I was interested in how radio messages capture attention, how we can make them more memorable, etc.

After I was through, Professor Reeves told me that I should not describe my interests as being in radio. Actually, what I was interested in, he taught me, wasn't the "box" called radio. It wasn't the delivery was what was being was AUDIO.

That was great advice. It took me a long time to break that "radio" habit. But eventually I did.

Not only did writing my tenure statement make me remember this formative event...but so did this article describing how even ad agencies are no longer saying they are interested in radio...with satelite and ipods and websites and radio all being used to deliver audio information. It's not just radio anymore.

That's why I'm not the Radio Prof.

1 comment:

Kevin Makice said...

Congratulations, Rob! Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.