University to host training program for media sales

Florida A&M University is hosting the first Media Sales Institute in Florida, an intensive 10-day training program for graduating college seniors who are interested in pursuing a career in media sales.

Each student will present a hypothetical sales presentation to broadcast companies that have entry-level positions available.

James Hawkins, dean of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication, wants students to understand that the program is not limited to only journalism students.

“There are few African-Americans who apply for these positions and we want to generate more prospects for general manager positions at radio, news and television stations,” Hawkins said.

Howard University was the first to have the program sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation and the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters.

The Alabama A&M University and Wilberforce University in Ohio wanted to host the program, but FAMU was selected. Hawkins has offered two students from AAMU and WU to join FAMU students since their schools were not chosen. However, they will have to go through the same application process as FAMU students.

The purpose of the institute, which was created in 2001, is to increase the number of women and people of color in media sales.

“The NABEF/NABOB program at FAMU will help our college students meet the growing demands and challenges of careers in broadcasting and media sales,” said Congressman Allen Boyd, D-Florida in a recent press release.

“Since its launch in 2001, close to 90 percent of its participants have been hired each year by media companies. We have every reason to expect the same success at Florida A&M,” Boyd said.

Boyd also announced that FAMU will receive $85,000 in grant funding from the NABEF to expand the reach of its successful NAB Media Sales Institute.

Deidre Williams, the public relations coordinator for SJGC, said that the training dedicates two days each to radio, television, cable and Internet sales. Upon completion, a career fair will be held in which participating students present their sales pitch to representatives form leading broadcast companies.

Williams also said that the success of the program will be significant for future opportunities.

“If the program is successful it will be awarded a grant for the next five years. We are looking forward to a successful launch,” Williams said.

“We have a tremendous opportunity in helping to change the under-representation of minorities in a lucrative part of out industry and that’s media sales,” said Kenneth Miles, general manager of WANM-FM 90.5 and broadcast journalism professor. “If you have content and no business then you really don’t have anything. They work together.”

Hawkins said one of the benefits to the program is that it brings “25 to 30 media companies to our campus and consequently provides the school with potentially more industry contacts that can be cultivated into partnerships.”

Hawkins and Miles want to encourage all students to be a part of the training. For additional information, students should attend the Media Sales Institute Open House today at 5 p.m. in the SJGC lecture hall.

Jillian Wiggs, a 2001 broadcast journalism FAMU alumna participated in the first MSI at Howard and will be the speaker at the open house.

Students may also pick up applications in the SJGC building room 4003. The deadline for applications will be March 31.

Editor Mia Small contributed to the story. ContactSarah Chester at