Instant flashback: It’s May, and I’m sitting in the conference room of Chicago’s finest rock station on the tenth floor of the Prudential Building, awkwardly trying to find a pose in my chair between business and casual. Today begins my first internship ever, and I think it shows just as much as my sweat stains from my nervous speed walk from the train. Just in time to save me from my feeble attempt at looking professional, it’s time for a tour of the station.
It’s surreal, walking around a station I’ve been listening to and learning from since I knew what music was. Like being backstage for a show, I’m looking from the inside out instead of the other way around. The walls are covered in iconic posters and albums like a rock star covered with tattoos. The green room displays photos of the legendary people that have shaped the station into what it is today. The on-air studio is humbly tucked away, the Batcave for DJs to spin their favorite tunes and converse with their listeners. As we conclude the tour, I’m certain the summer will be something out of my dreams.
And it was. From the Blues Festival to Taste of Chicago, from the Pride Parade to the Grateful Dead at Soldier Field, from Pitchfork to Lollapalooza and so much more in between, I made my way around the city promoting the station while having the time of my life. The events I promoted at were filled with loyal XRT fans who had countless memories of the station to share. The concerts I attended were unforgettable and, in some cases, once-in-a-lifetime experiences. The people I met in my summer here have been instrumental in opening my eyes to the ins and outs of the media world and have made me feel like I’m an integral part of the station. Nothing has prepared me more for the pursuit of work that I love to do in a field that I’m passionate about.
It’s my last day in the Prudential Building. I’m heading out with the same brisk pace to the train as I had on my first day, but this time with confidence in my stride. XRT has prepared me for my next steps as a young professional and solidified my passion for the career path I’ve chosen, all to the tune of my favorite songs. I’ve dreamed of being a part of the music industry for so long; interning at XRT this summer has made those dreams a reality (cue Beck).