Radio network intern. If that conjures up images of a college kid making coffee runs or dusting off microphones, let me finish. Radio network intern for the Carolina Panthers. Obviously, this ain’t your typical student job.
Nick Lanciani, a junior communications major from Massachusetts, is a college kid with responsibilities far greater than just going for lattes and, as is often the case with sports stories, he comes from humble beginnings – a blog.Down the Frozen River is a hockey blog that was founded by Lanciani in February 2014. Like anything new, the blog’s start was somewhat rough, but the content picked up in June 0f that year during the NHL draft.
“[I wanted to] get into writing about the sport,” said Lanciani, “practice crafting professional voice by using the blog.”
He, along with his two friends, fellow Queens communication majors Colby Kephart and Connor Keith, regularly post in-depth analyses, game day predictions and a set of projected stat charts for the Boston Bruins.
Down the Frozen River indulges Lanciani’s passion for hockey and exercises his writing chops. It has also inspired him to start a podcast, which is currently on its 23rd episode. Not only has the podcast helped give his blog a voice of its own, but it has also helped him develop the skills to do what he does during his internship.
A “mix of everything” is the phrase Lanciani used to describe his role in the Panthers radio network. His radio responsibilities are far more than just flipping the on-air switch or controlling the volume. A mix of everything, in this case, means everything.
Three and a half hours before kick-off, while most Carolinians are just starting to dial into their radios or stake their claim in front of TVs, Lanciani is clocking in for the Panthers pre-game show. By the time the game’s first down has come and gone, he is controlling the radio board, which allows area radio audiences to hear local content and commercial packages. As the Panthers push through the second half of the game, Lanciani is pulling, cutting and editing audio for the post game show, during which he also helps control the camera for the online, radio and TV simulcast.“If you had asked me ‘What do you think your first job in sports is going to be?’ I would have probably said some minor league team,” said Lanciani. “But I have been very fortunate and lucky enough to start at the entry level with the Carolina Panthers.”
Luck is not the only force on Lanciani’s side. David Langton, longtime executive producer of radio broadcasts for the Carolina Panthers and an instructor in the Knight School of Communication, encouraged Lanciani to apply for the intern position at Panthers Radio Network after he had him as a student in his sports journalism class.
“I love writing about sports and I love talking about sports, but how does the productions side of any of that go?” said Lanciani. “It was cool when the opportunity presented itself.”
After applying and patiently waiting for a response, he finally received an email requesting an interview, which eventually led to an internship offer.
“Nick presented himself very well throughout the process,” said Langton, “a well-written resume and cover letter — strong performance when interviewed…”
It wasn’t just a well-composed cover letter that got Lanciani a spot with the Panthers; Langton acknowledged that it was just as much about the groundwork he was laying for himself and the practice he was doing on his own time.
“One thing that made Nick stand out was the independent writing he is doing with his hockey blog,” he said. “This shows great drive to create such a well-done independent project.”
After mastering the ropes of the studio and getting used to their editing program, Lanicani began to use the knowledge he had learned independently though editing his own podcasts and started to apply it to how he edited content for the radio.
“I tend to be a visual learner but when it comes to editing skills, it’s best to try and have fun, be creative,” said Lanciani. “Emulate others and then you learn ‘Oh, I like this’ or ‘I never knew I could make it sound like this.’ It’s playtime really. ”
The contrast between the NFL and the NHL has also been an experience he has had to get used to. As a child, Lanciani said he was into pretty much every sport, but once hockey took over, football was put to the side.
“The differences are fun to work with,” said Lanciani. “The dynamics and how people view the sport are interesting to see.”
Memorizing the Panthers roster, learning league rules and embracing a different fan atmosphere were all just another part of the job.
As the football season comes to a close and the internship wraps up, it is time for Lanciani to make his next move. Though he would prefer working in hockey, he is open to working in any sport.
“I don’t know if I would have envisioned it working out [like this] but it’s cool,” said Lanciani. “Obviously I can’t be like, ‘Okay, now I can retire’ because A. I didn’t win the power ball and B. I want to do more.”
With aspirations that include paid blogging, communications or more radio work, “applying for everything” seems to be his current strategy for the future — a future Lanciani hopes will involve his enthusiasm for the sports world.
“You must have a passion for the job, a passion to tell the story and a drive to create,” said Langton, “If it is the right career, nothing feels difficult. There are different challenges with each assignment…but I don’t look at that as being difficult; that is an adrenaline [rush].”
There is no doubt that having this Panthers radio experience under his belt will boost both his resume and hiring appeal, but, for Lanicani, it’s less about what he gets into and more where he wants to end up.
“I am fine with doing anything if that means I get to go to a game every night” said Lanciani, “that’s fine with me.”
While Lanciani will not be in Santa Clara, California, for Super Bowl 50, he will be knee-deep in the game’s action, as he works from the Panthers’ Charlotte stadium to provide listeners with the coverage they want before, during and after the game.
This semester, the Chronicle will be doing a series spotlighting Queens students making a difference. If you know a Queens student who deserves to have his or her work highlighted, email editor Eliza Wireback at firstname.lastname@example.org.