UNT students win morning radio show contest, will spend summer as Wild 100.3 apprentices
Most college students land their summer jobs or internships by filling out applications and being interviewed.
UNT students Jenny Deason and Adrian Hummel, however, earned their internships by walking conspicuously behind TV reporters while they were reporting live and asking hotel and restaurant managers for gift certificates to include in prize packages.
Deason, a sophomore pre-radio/television/film major, and Hummel, a junior communication studies major, are unpaid "Fitzprentices" to morning drive-time disk jockey Fitz this summer on KRBV-FM in Dallas. The two won their positions on the Wild 100.3 Fitz in the Morning show through an on-the-air contest in March that was similar to the popular NBC show The Apprentice. Their internship began May 17.
They were among six finalists selected from 3,700 applicants who filled out questionnaires on the radio station's web site. Fitz, who personally eliminated the finalists, originally wanted to choose just one Fitzprentice, but he decided to select two when Deason and Hummel — the only college students among the finalists — proved to be equals.
"I had a feeling that it would come down to me and Jenny at the end," says Hummel, who added that he and Deason did not know each other before the Fitzprentice contest. "I'm guessing that a lot of radio/TV/film students from UNT applied, and it's cool that two UNT students were chosen."
Hummel volunteers at UNT's radio station, KNTU-FM, and has also worked in promotions for KTCK-AM in Dallas. He says he entered the contest for the chance to break into the radio business.
"Fitz was looking for people who had a passion for radio, and I said in the application that I'd bring creative ideas to promote the station," he says.
Deason says she's been a KRBV fan since she transferred to UNT in January.
"On my first day here, they played a band I'd never heard of before but loved," she says. "I told Fitz that I loved the show because the talent on it was great
During the two-week contest, Deason, Hummel and the other four finalists were divided into groups of three and given challenges, such as assembling a prize package in 90 minutes, writing a 60-second show promotion, putting the Wild 100.3 logo on a major local news show for free, and lining up a celebrity for an on-air interview.
Deason says her group's hardest challenge was getting the logo on a news broadcast. They ended up attending a press conference wearing T-shirts with the logo and appeared on WFAA-TV.
"We walked behind someone who was talking about (former Fort Worth ISD superintendent) Thomas Tocco," Deason says.
Hummel says his group, meanwhile, received a lead about KDFW-TV doing a story on a group of local soldiers returning from Iraq.
"We went to the welcome-back rally and passed out T-shirts and put up banners with the Wild 100.3 logo, and I casually walked behind the reporter wearing a T-shirt while he was on a live broadcast," he says.
He says the prize package proved to be his group's most difficult challenge.
"Soliciting businesses was hard because we were in a hurry and anxious and they were busy," he says. "Some of our ideas fell through."
After two of the finalists were eliminated, each finalist had to complete three individual challenges — controlling the station's sound board equipment; writing a promotion for CompUSA, which was the broadcast site for Fitz in the Morning during one day of the contest; and writing a 30-second acceptance speech that they would give if chosen as a Fitzprentice.
"The hardest one was the CompUSA promotion. You had to include lots of information in only 60 seconds," Deason says. "That was also the day that we had to compete against two other people who were chosen from the application list to be wildcard players."
On the final day of the contest, three finalists remained. After another finalist was cut, Deason and Hummel waited for one of them to be eliminated.
"Fitz tried to play up the contest like he was Donald Trump (on The Apprentice), but it was hard for him to fire the finalists because he was becoming friends with us," Hummel says. "He called Jenny's name first as the winner, but then he called my name, too. Neither one of us wanted to see the other one cut, so we were very excited when we were both picked."
For winning the contest, the two received a laptop computer and a $2,000 shopping spree. They also received various assignments to complete for Fitz in the Morning before their full-time internship started, including interviewing American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson and runner-up and Clay Aiken to promote Clarkson and Aiken's area concert.
Both Deason and Hummel say they hope to interview more celebrities during their Fitzprenticeship. They also say they hope their internship, which will end with the start of UNT's fall semester on Aug. 30, will turn into paid employment.
But even if that doesn't happen, both students will receive many perks from being on the show — including attention from listeners.
"The whole contest was a really big success with the audience," Deason says. "When we were on location at CompUSA, two people came up to me and said, ‘I love you! I hope you win.' It's crazy to see the listeners face to face."
Hummel says his UNT classmates were impressed when he said he was in the contest.
"They said, ‘That was you? You were great,'" he says. "I'm not used to all of the attention I've received."
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