Zach Miller is a Goshen College graduate who now works for Federated Media, producing commercials for radio stations in the Elkhart County FM radius and beyond. Zach was the 2008 student station manager at 91.1 Globe, and he looks back fondly on his time spent with WGCS.
When did you graduate from Goshen College, and what was your major?
I graduated in 2008, and my major was communications, emphasis broadcasting. I also signed up for a minor in marketing.
Do you remember why you chose Goshen College?
I chose Goshen College because… Can I say that I was kind of forced to?
You can say whatever you want.
I wasn’t forced, but it was strongly suggested that I attend Goshen College because my parents both came to Goshen. I grew up in the Mennonite church too, so it was always on my radar.
What encouraged you to get involved with the radio station?
I visited the school (as a prospective student) and thought that the radio station was a really cool part of the college. I ended up taking Intro to Radio and working under Jason (Samuel).
Was getting into broadcasting an idea you had prior to starting college?
Only a little. Originally, I was going to go down the medical field because my dad is in the medical field. I thought that I would carry on and do what my dad has done and my uncles have done. But I remember listening to a rock station down in Atlanta called 99X, and they were having a promotion where they were going to hire a new person to be on air at night. It was like a giveaway. I was like, “Man, that’d be so cool to do radio and win the contest.” I never entered the contest, but when I came up and visited Goshen I thought that maybe this could be my start in radio.
It’s like it was meant to be.
Yeah, I was just walking through the Union and I ran into Jason Samuel, and I instantly felt a calling.
What are some of your most memorable moments from WGCS?
Getting up early to do The Breakfast Blend my sophomore year was a big moment. Going to places like Chicago and New York and meeting up with other college radio stations and realizing that The Globe is not like any other college radio stations was really cool. The Globe could even compete in the commercial world, and college stations like that are few and far between. I loved getting calls in the morning because people would tell me that our station was fresh and unique. Interviews with different bands in town, too! There were just a lot of fun opportunities like that.
Did you do a lot of band interviews when you were around?
Not as many as I would have liked, but one of my favorites was when I interviewed Bryan Blush. You’ve probably seen “King of the Hill”— he wrote the theme song. He was a Refreshments member, and he actually told me on air how he had to sell the rights to the songs. He was playing a show in Middlebury.
Do you think that The Globe properly prepared you for the job market?
I feel like I got a lot of real world experience. The Globe gave me a lot of experience with behind the scenes production, scheduling songs, listening to different things and also reporting spins back to promoters. I still have a lot of those connections too.
Is working in the radio industry what you expected it to be?
From a business standpoint, I don’t think I realized everything that went into making a radio station work. Like the sales people, the general manager, the business manager and the promotions director. I never even realized the prep that goes into being on air and the work that goes into it, outside of the 6:00-10:00 shift.
What advice would you give to yourself in college?
I would definitely say study more and focus more. I would want to remind myself that there is something on the line, and not just student loans. You’re working towards your future career. Something that college teaches you is how to read and adapt to situations later in life, I think. If there was one thing I could change about my college radio experience is that I wish I would have looked for more internships, and not just radio. I would look for TV internships too, anything involving the media or maybe even a marketing agency. I still had a really great time in college, and I still value everything that I learned back then as well.