Breaking into the world of journalism could be a challenging task, as it takes perseverance and passion to get noticed by a well-respected outlet or publication. While most professions ask for a simple resume, an aspiring journalist must present tangible work that proves they are worthy and ready to be the voice of the people.
Therefore, when the world came to a sudden halt due to the global health crisis in 2020 – radio and television personality, Sam Alex saw the demand for a virtual journalism masterclass. The innovative idea came to Alex after realizing that several internships and camps were canceled, leaving him concerned for the next generation of journalists.
Without any hesitation, the seasoned professional raked in leading names in the industry and created a star-studded list of celebrities who were more than willing to guide the future reporters and newscasters in the right direction. After pulling some strings and endless recruiting, “Camp Broadcast” was born and has changed the lives of countless campers in just a short amount of time.
College and high school students who go through Camp Broadcast are destined for success, as they have the opportunity to build a well-rounded portfolio that any hiring or station manager can’t resist. While Alex provides first-hand advice, campers have the chance to pick the brains of an array of media correspondents, go through mock interviews, host a virtual red carpet, and they even receive the courage to apply to their dream outlet or start their own venture.
“Camp Broadcast has been ‘the journalist’s golden ticket’ to real-world experiences that you crave in the classroom,” gushed a student on the CB official website. “Camp Broadcast is a hidden gem! Not only do you get to interview big-time names, but everyone you interview wants to help you succeed in the real world,” shared another.
In fact, multiple Camp Broadcast graduates have gone on to apply what they have learned at well-respected outlets and organizations such as – Sports Illustrated, ABC News, CBS, Tampa Bay Rays, CMT, Lake County’s 102.3 XLC, ESPN, and even Walt Disney World’s prestigious internship program.
Following the rapid success of the virtual sessions, Alex brought his state-of-the-art masterclass to the next level by hosting an in-person summer program at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Skokie, IL. Campers were provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interview Olympic gold medalist Christina Loukas, Nashville newcomer Jenny Tolman, chat with award-winning CNN reporter Dean Reynolds and NBC 5 Chicago anchor Mike Berman.
With the 2022 program on top of mind, the syndicated radio host turned entrepreneur recently hosted a Nashville-style songwriter round to raise money for student scholarships. The inaugural Camp Broadcast Acoustic Concert featured performances from Jake Hoot, Lanie Gardner, Adam Hambrick and was held at Pinstripes in South Barrington, IL, on Jan. 16.
Hambrick, who is the gifted songwriter behind Dan + Shay’s chart-topping hit “How Not To,” exclusively told Music Mayhem that he wished that Camp Broadcast existed when he was growing up, as it would have proved that a small-town kid like him could follow his dreams and achieve.
“I grew up in a small town in Mississippi, and I never saw somebody who was in music, and I never knew somebody whose path I could follow and imitate,” said the hitmaker. “So, doing something like this for me is just an opportunity to show people who want to do what I do that they can do it and that it’s not like some unfathomable dream. It’s a dream, but it’s a real thing that happens to real people. You’ll never do it, if you don’t try,” he added about participating in the show.
Before the breakout stars took center stage, aspiring musicians from School of Rock Barrington and Stevenson Amplified kicked off the evening with captivating covers. As concert-goers sipped on cocktails and delectable bites – NBC’s The Voice winner Jake Hoot, Hambrick, and Lanie Gardner, who most recently opened for the Jonas Brothers, took turns to share original material and unheard stories.
Gardner told Music Mayhem reporter and Camp Broadcast alum Tiffany Goldstein, that she enjoys performing in small venues and participating in fundraisers. “I love intimate settings, and I love to do fundraisers. I just like being in a space where everybody can just sit down, drink, and enjoy good music. I think that’s probably the most special thing about this performance,” she said before praising Sam Alex for his event execution. “Sam really brought that Nashville dynamic to the middle of this suburb of Chicago.”
Hoot did not fail to mention that he jumped on the opportunity to fly to Chicagoland as soon as Alex offered a spot in the lineup. “You have all these aspiring journalists, and now I’m getting to meet all these young musicians,” he shared full of excitement. “I am not a seasoned vet by any means, but I have been in different stages of life, and to be able to pour into these young kids and watch other people like Adam shape young minds – is something so special,” he concluded.
After Sam Alex and PeopleTV host Andrea Boehlke wrapped up the unforgettable songwriters round – ticket holders had the chance to mingle amongst each other, snap a photo with the performers, and walk the make-shift red carpet.
Individuals looking to support the initiative or register for the June 13-16 summer session could visit CampBroadcast.com for more information.