Interview with Daniel Raby, New Intern at Calvert Creative
Our new intern, Daniel Raby, has experience working with NPR and Sirius XM as a social media manager, blogger, and a late night radio talk show host.
We recently sat down with Daniel to see how his experience in radio and broadcasting has helped shape his life and his view of the future of radio and marketing.
Calvert: Where did you grow up and where did you attend school?
Daniel: I was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. I attended Raleigh Charter High School, a tiny school that was in an old textile mill. I then went up to Washington D.C. to attend American University for undergrad.
C: When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
D: Well…a dinosaur first. Then a detective, haha. I’ve always been interested in the new technologies, the next “big” things. Back then, it was CD players. I always crazy about them…”What is this thing? How does it work?” So I always wanted to do something with electronics. That transitioned into the internet, and social media and marketing.
C: What were your favorite classes in school? Were there any teachers or professors that really inspired you?
D: I had one class called “The Sociology of The Future.” Which sounds like a weird class, but the main point, or theme of the class was, what is society going to look like in 10 years? In 20 years? We read a lot of weird trans-human books. Weird things about how one day all of humanity will be put inside robots, haha. I don’t know about all of that, but the idea was, since our lives are more and more connected to the internet, more and more connected to computers, how does that affect the way we live our lives? Everything from eating, to social gatherings. I was really into that.
C: What hobbies do you enjoy? What things do you like doing outside of the office?
D: I used to play the bagpipes. That was my big thing for a while. I had to stop that. But I’m a huge movie buff. When I was in college, I maybe watched a movie a day. I just love them so much. It’s so easy to pop one in and plop down with other people, and watch one that maybe you’ve never even heard of before. It may be good, it may be bad. But it’s always fun.
C: So you’ve worked in radio and broadcasting a little bit. How has that experience impacted your life and career so far? What were some of the most challenging and rewarding experiences?
D: I think one thing that radio really helped me with was how to put my own voice in things. Before I got into radio and broadcasting, I was very hesitant of stating my own opinion on things. With radio, you sit down, there’s a mic in front of you, and you’re forced to just talk. And you’re allowed to play music that you have your stamp-of-approval on. So you have to become more and more confident. I had an internship with Sirius XM, and one of the things they had me do was my own 6-hour late night live show. Which is pretty insane. I came into it being pretty nervous, because, I mean, this is going out for anyone to listen to without receiving feedback. But it worked out really well! You have to exude confidence and show that you’re willing to go all the way and take the next step, and be the best you can be.
C: Describe your experience as a Resident Assistant with the American University Office of Housing and Dining. How did your time spent as a mentor to the First-Year Students impact you, and what did you learn?
D: I was an RA my senior year, which was also the year that I was an intern with Sirius XM, and doing other stuff with radio, so it was pretty hectic. I was put on a floor with around 60 students, all First -Year, all relatively new to D.C. I think one was a local, but everyone else was from all around the country and around the world. And they’re just put in this environment where you are their only face, really. You’re the one that has to help them get situated. You’re the one that teaches them about the school and the city in general. It taught me how to be a leader. I mean, these kids know nothing about this area, and they’re relying on you. If something happens, they’re not going to go to anyone else but you. So you have to be prepared in times of crisis and in times of celebration.
C: As society is moving more and more to digital, how do you see this changing radio marketing?
D: I think it’s going to be a lot tougher, in both good and bad ways. Since we’re going more to the digital sphere, it’s becoming, on the radio side, tougher to get an audience. You now have so many options to choose from. There’s satellite radio, internet radio, Pandora and Spotify. It’s not just people in their cars. That captive audience is not necessarily there anymore. Traditional ads don’t cut it anymore, because people can easily avoid them now. So you have to find a way to make your radio show, or your journalism gig, stick in a way that other people aren’t doing. There’s social media advertising, or Google. Anything that you can do to make yourself stand out from the crowd and be visible—and you have to keep finding ways to keep that visibility—can help you.
C: How do you see radio changing in the future?
D: It’s going to be interesting. Terrestrial radio is going to struggle for a bit. I could see there being a lot more localized content. Same thing for marketing, really. We’re going to the community and finding out exactly what the community needs, rather than a one-size-fits-all ad campaign. It’s all going to people in a specific area, and a specialized response to those people.
C: You also had a role as a blogger and social media manager. Describe that role and talk about what you learned.
D: I blogged and managed social media for NPR’s “All Songs Considered” for a little while. I think one of the things that I really learned from that was that you’re going to be hearing all the time from your listeners and from the people that read your content. The internet has really given people that you normally would have never heard from a voice in what you do. So we would hear, “Hey, I don’t like the way you do (X),” or, “Thanks for pointing me to (Y), because I had never heard of it before and it’s fantastic.” It gives you a way to converse individually with people, while before, without social media, you would send out something and you might get an email, or you might get something from those that really loved or really hated your show, but you wouldn’t hear from anyone else. And you may be having a conversation with someone, but no one else would be seeing that conversation. So they wouldn’t understand that you’re an actual human being handling everything. It gives it a personal touch. What social media has really helped with is giving you a way to thank people and giving you an easy way to address a problem and find ways to fix things in the future. I think just that, just putting the human face on a mega corporation or mega program, is a really great thing.
C: As an intern at Calvert, what are you hoping to get out of your experience here?
D: One of the things I would really love to get out of this internship is seeing how a marketing firm takes ideas, and is forward-thinking enough to see what’s coming next, and how we can take that and make it a useful tool for the future. Going back to social media…going back like 4 years ago, no one thought that companies being on Facebook would work. No one thought that you needed that. No one that you needed Twitter. But people are slowly learning that you have to have this to be a successful business. And I think Calvert is really good at seeing what the next big trends are going to be and how they can make them work in a profitable and easy-to-use way.
C: Where do you see yourself in the future? What kind of job and career would you like to have?
D: As for the future…somewhere in a flying car hopefully, haha. Umm…I don’t know…hopefully somewhere that is on the edge of technology, hopefully. Hopefully doing what Calvert is doing, honestly. It’s very hazy. I mean, 2012 is here, and we might all be exploding and the Earth might be ending soon, so who knows?