Student Lands Dream Internship at Elvis Duran and the Morning Show
Perseverance and dedication landed Sacred Heart University student Alexa Bianchi the internship she desired at Elvis Duran and the Morning Show, and it hasn’t let her down.
Bianchi, a media arts major who expects to graduate in the fall, started interning at the popular Z100 radio show in New York City this semester, assisting with production. The show focuses on pop culture, current events, the disc jockeys’ lives and music.
Bianchi grew up listening to Z100, a top-40 station serving the New York area. “Whenever I was in the car, on my way to school, I was listening to Z100,” said Bianchi, a 20-year-old from White Plains, N.Y. “I would sing along to the music with my mom.”
Radio is “just fun,” Bianchi said. “It’s effective and it keeps you tuned in. And, in a way, when you’re listening, it’s connected to just you; it’s just you and DJ.” One can turn on the radio and be entertained by music, news or pop culture, she said.
Besides enjoying the music Z100 played, Bianchi also grew to enjoy a particular DJ, Elvis Duran, a veteran in the industry for more than 30 years. “I wanted to learn from the best in the business, and that’s Elvis Duran; he’s a legend,” Bianchi said.
Before entering her sophomore year at SHU, Bianchi applied for an internship at Elvis Duran and was shocked to receive an email a few days later asking her to come to the New York City studio for an interview.
“I cried, I was so happy,” Bianchi said. The interview was laid back and informal, but Bianchi was very nervous and ultimately didn’t get the internship. “I was devastated, but I didn’t let it defeat me,” she said.
Instead, she concentrated on her media arts studies and applied for the internship again. However, though the second interview was much better than the first, she still was not chosen. Determined to get experience in a field she loved, she persevered and started an internship at another Z100 radio show that aired at night.
Three nights a week, Bianchi commuted from SHU to her parents’ home in White Plains, and then into the city to intern for DJ Maxwell, who airs on Z100 from 6 to 10 p.m. “I was really excited. It was a great experience,” she said, though she admitted, “I was totally wiped by the end of the semester.”
Last November, Bianchi interviewed for the third time at Elvis Duran, and this time she secured the internship. Her hard work and determination “all paid off,” she said.
On the days she interns, Bianchi enters the studio at 5:30 a.m. She prints out news articles and horoscopes for the DJs, reviews emails and looks for relevant and timely topics that could be discussed on air. She also answers and screens phone calls and prepares callers. Bianchi said a supervisor assigns the interns “homework”—they must come up with three stories about things that happened to them during the week, and when someone’s story is selected, that intern goes on-air and talks about it.
Bianchi said she’s enthusiastic about her internship at the radio show she’s loved and listened to for years. She’s excited to be doing and learning so much and credits her studies at Sacred Heart for providing her with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed. “I received hands-on, real-life experience,” she said. “Editing video and audio for class really helped me for this internship. A lot of what I learned in class, I have applied to what I do.”
“Alexa has a great understanding of how to gather and record the needed elements of an audio story and put them together for broadcast on air or online. In the media arts program, our production classes are designed to give students real-world experience. In my classes, I approach homework like a producer giving an assignment to an employee or a reporter. We treat the due dates like deadlines for making it on air. In class, when your assignment is late, you get a reduced grade; in real life, your story doesn’t make air,” said Keith Zdrojowy, a professor at SHU’s School of Communication & Media Arts and studio manager at the Frank and Marisa Martire Business & Communications Center.
Zdrojowy said SHU students are landing internships and jobs in major companies throughout the area, and requests for interns come in weekly. “I think this just goes to show how our program is built with the professional career in mind. Our location also helps, with us being so close to a number of major media outlets,” he said.
After graduation, Bianchi wants to pursue a career in radio, either working on air or producing behind the scenes, though she also is interested in scouting talent for record labels.