Mt. Pleasant man makes waves on the radio scene
Mt. Pleasant's Nathan Keenan was among a group of Point Park University students recently recognized by the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System in New York City for coordinating the radio programming at the downtown Pittsburgh school.
Keenan — a junior majoring in broadcast production and programming and minoring in advertising and public relations — is a production director for WPPJ — 670 AM — the university's student-run radio station.
It's there that he is in charge of all pre-recorded content played on the station, he said.
“I'm pretty versatile. I can work very actively behind-the-scenes and manage things,” said Keenan, 20, a 2011 Mt. Pleasant Area graduate.
“I would love to use my minor in some way to help plan events or write ads. Production work is my forte,” he said.
WPPJ is a mixed-format college station, playing music from a wide variety of genres: hip-hop to indie rock; Warp Records to K Records, according to pointpark.edu.
The station provides a co-curricular activity for students with an interest in radio, news, sports, contemporary/popular music, media sales and promotions, the site states.
WPPJ also serves as a training facility for students of any major who, like Keenan, desire a career in professional broadcasting, the site states.
It also provides a medium of intra-university communication over the air and via the Web.
Keenan creates a majority of the station's commercials, promos and any necessary station identification spots, he said.
Other duties Keenan has include monitoring and cheking the studio equipment.
He also creates promos for events involving other clubs on campus, and he works with the station's sale director to create advertisements, he said.
In addition to his duties as production director, he hosts his own specialty music show, where all of the music played is from his own collection of vinyl records.
At the recent Intercollegiate Broadcasting System event, WPPJ earned awards in two of the four categories in which it was nominated, including first places in Best Public Service Announcement and Best Specialty Show.
The station was also nominated in the Best Sports Update and Best Show Promo categories.
College students from across the country were nominated for the awards and attended the conference.
The public service announcement up for the award was created by the station's general manager Sara Daversa of Shaler.
The announcement was for The Early Learning Institute, an organization that helps children with special needs to excel academically.
Daversa said the station loves working with the institute every year.
“It's great to be part of a university club that can keep up its level of excellence year-to-year at a national conference,” she said.
To be nominated, student radio stations must belong to the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System.
The awards ceremony and conference were held March 7-8.
Keenan said he had the opportunity to attend some of the conference seminars offered at the event, including “How to Land an Internship,” by NYC 92.3 NOW radio host Ty Bentli, and “Social Media and Your Station.”
Keenan said several social media experts from different stations and organizations conducted a round-table discussion on the news, production, sports and music departments at a station.
Although Keenan's own radio show was not nominated for an award, he played an integral part of reviewing many hours of content to choose what he and Daversa determined were the station's best possible award entries.
Keenan added that he is excited for next year's conference.
After the conference, he seized the opportunity to network with other students from across the country.
Keenan said he has been involved in the radio station since his freshman year, adding that his interest in radio as a possible career was sparked his junior year of high school in 2011.
When Keenan graduates from Point Park University next year, he said his goal is to work at a radio station, whether it be on- or off-air.
Keenan's mother, Pam Mondock, said he interned last summer at WYEP and was given the opportunity to work with them at their summer concert series held in Schenley Plaza in Pittsburgh.
“As a parent, I am very proud to see my son flourishing and enjoying his college experience to the fullest,” Mondock said.
WPPJ is a partner with Pacifica Radio Network, the oldest non-commercial broadcast network in the United States.
The partnership with Point Park provides staff members the opportunity to broadcast their news reports on Pacifica Internet and broadcast member stations.
WPPJ can be heard live streaming from wppjradio.com, the smart phone app “tunein radio,” as well as on 670 AM on the radio.
Kelly Vernon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-547-5722 or firstname.lastname@example.org.