Nathan Sykes, like many students, started his college education believing he was interested in law.
That has since changed.
Nathan Sykes, 21, is now a senior history major at ETSU and is minoring in Political Science and Appalachian Studies. Sykes also works as a production assistant at Radio Bristol, which broadcasts live shows at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum.
Radio Bristol specializes in preserving Appalachian and country music. They take local or older works and promote them. It has been around for about one year, and for most of that time, Sykes has been there to watch it change and grow.
When he started, Sykes didn’t anticipate the experiences Radio Bristol offered. However, being in two bands himself, he had plenty of reasons to be curious of what he could learn. He began his time there as an intern.
“I started out doing basic tasks,” he said. “I was inputting all the new music we received, doing a little bit of writing for shows, things of that nature.”
Near the end of the internship, he was able to move into a new position as spots opened.
Now Sykes does on-air talking. He discusses new artists, older artists, and promotes them as well as others.
His advancement in the organization isn’t just a personal triumph. The company itself is generating momentum and successes of its own.
“It’s grown substantially,” Sykes said. “In the first quarter of this year we’re going to have ten new programs.”
Sykes believes it is important for those who are interested to consider Radio Bristol. He believes work experience can be just as valuable as a diploma.
“Most of our staff at Radio Bristol are ETSU students or alumni,” Sykes said. “People in the Bluegrass or even in the arts, or people in the technical field would be a good fit at Radio.”
He speaks of Radio Bristol having one intern currently but is confident that that will change as the company expands.
“I’m going to try to stay with Radio Bristol as long as I can,” Sykes said. “I’m pretty happy with where I’m at. I’m gaining skills and having a good time as I do it.”