Cherokee student is on-air personality at radio station
Cherokee Nation citizen Colby Luper works at Lakes Country radio station in Tahlequah as an on-air personality for Billy Country and as a production designer producing commercials. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee Nation citizen Colby Luper is succeeding in his media career as Lakes Country Radio’s on-air personality and production director.
After completing a 2017 internship during his junior year at Northeastern State University, Lakes Country hired Luper to host an afternoon program and produce commercials. Luper is studying media studies at NSU and is expected to graduate in May.
“After my internship was over, I was a good fit here. They liked the work and I guess the effort that I put in to learn how to do all the duties around here. So they hired me as an on-air personality. So it was like I’m still in school, it would be cool to have a job that’s in the media field so I can build that experience,” Luper said.
Luper said he started as an on-air personality for the AM station Billy Country and eventually became production director for his work producing commercials.
“Being an on-air personality is fun. I really like that. On Billy Country, we focus mostly on classic country music. When a song plays, I might come in to do a break and I’ll just talk about naming the songs on the radio in case somebody doesn’t know. I’ll let people know what they just heard and what’s coming up later on in the hour,” he said.
He also announces events happening in the Cherokee County area and tries to throw in “fun stuff” such as information about country artists and country music.
“I’ll throw in some fun things, but I don’t have any regular bits, nothing like characters or anything like that yet. That’s something I would like to work on in the future, but right now its kind of just getting information out about promoting the local community,” he said.
He said while being trained to be an on-air personality, he didn’t have to create a radio voice. He just kept it conversational as if he’s hanging out with a listener. But he said he draws inspiration for his work from TV personalities.
“I do like a lot of TV personalities like David Letterman, who also have some background in radio. They also have a very presentational voice and interview-style conversations where they’re just having a conversation with somebody, where they’re just sort of in a more intimate and relaxed tone than like a big announcer-type personality. I think that that is pretty cool, when you can just be somebody who a listener or a viewer would like to sit down and talk to as well,” Luper said.
As for commercial production, he was able to also develop that skill after being hired. “I started helping out with commercial production, and I just started voicing spots. Then I would learn how produce them myself, so if somebody needed me to make a spot, I could come in and read it, produce it fully myself.”
He said it’s how he was offered the position of production designer in addition to his on-air personality work. He communicates with vocal talents across the country to read scripts, and he produces them by adding music or sound effects.
“I’ll send our scripts to people all over the country to have them voice it so that we can put their voice on our station, help diversify the voices that we have here because if it was just the four or five people in the station at a time and I used those same voices all the time, then our voices would get stale,” he said.
Luper said upon graduation, he would like to go into television or film though he enjoys radio.
“I’m not sure exactly how I can move into that field. I’ve considered looking at Cherokee Nation as a potential employer in the future. But radio is something that I enjoy, but I’m also interested in other things as well. So it kind of depends on which life takes me,” he said.
Luper is featured on Afternoons with Colby Luper from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday on Billy Country KEOK 96.3 FM or 1350 AM.