Sylvia Koss ’13: Remember to be digital first

When thinking about the communications industry, the key to success is to be digital first.

Integrated Marketing Communications graduate Sylvia Koss works in the radio industry through Clear Channel Broadcasting and says it’s necessary to have a digital presence.

“A lot of the communications is going digital, even radio,” Koss said. “When I was in college, the only radios I had were the one in my car and the community radio located in the bathroom of my first year residence hall. Besides that, I listened to my iTunes library or Pandora.”

Koss said times have changed since her first year at Simpson College.

“Over the last few years, Clear Channel launched the iHeartRadio app, which I believe to be an extremely wise decision on the company’s part because it helps them to establish their stations digitally in the communications industry,” she said.

The iHeartRadio application allows users to listen to the radio from nearly every state. It keeps up with the 24/7 cycle the industry maintains itself on.

In addition to companies maintaining a digital presence, Koss said working professionals need to also show others in the industry how they can establish themselves digitally.

“I am on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Vizify and have my own personal website,” Koss said. “It is important to connect yourself with the world as much as possible because you need to show others in the communications industry that you know how to do just that.”

Simpson College has provided Koss with the resources to be a competitive, digital first communications professional. She was involved with Simpson Student Media and held leadership positions through The Simpsonian and KSTM, the college’s radio station. Koss credits Simpson Student Media for directing her to where she is today with Clear Channel Broadcasting.

“I began as a reporter for The Simpsonian, then became the social media editor and lastly, the director of news content during my senior year,” she said.

Koss was able to join The Morning Storm with Jesse Allen, another Simpson graduate, for the second semester of her senior year.

“Along with my friend Kelsey Hagelberg, the three of us created a segment called Jesse’s Girls,” Koss said. “It was the first time I was able to be on-air.”

Beyond the resources within the department, faculty and staff also encouraged her to seek out opportunities in the Des Moines area. Koss advises students looking to follow her path to not only secure internships, but to also work hard at them.

She interned with Fampus, an online campus events calendar, during her junior year. Clear Channel Broadcasting offered her an internship during her senior year, which eventually led to full-time employment.

“Internships are a must,” she said. “They give you a hands-on learning experience that you can’t always get in the classroom. In addition to the experience, internships are also about the networking aspect. In radio especially, it is all about who you know and the impressions you leave on people.”

Koss said because the communications industry always has networking professionals, people are always willing to help one another. However, she emphasizes that producing poor quality work or leaving a negative impression on someone can hinder the experience.

“When you land that awesome internship, be eager to learn and do your best work at all times,” she said. “Remember that they love it when you ask questions because it shows that you want to learn more.”

Koss currently works as the promotions and production assistant for Clear Channel Broadcasting. She creates and executes promotional ideas for seven stations (1075 KISS FM, Capital 1063, 100.3 The Bus, New Rock 1051, 1040 WHO, 1460 KXNO and 1430 KASI). She also organizes overnight content for 1075 KISS FM and produces the Mix Show on Saturday nights for the station.

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