Guest speaker Kayla Austin inspires iCLU Radio members with entertainment journey

Olivia Madera , Reporter

Kayla Austin, a producer from iHeartRadio, spoke to California Lutheran University’s iCLU radio club on about her experiences with the radio industry and some tips to help navigate it. 

Austin was iCLU’s first guest speaker of the year, and the club looks forward to reaching out and having other guests such as radio podcast host Erica Shea, radio and TV announcer Scott Alexander, podcast host and producer Barry Funkhouser and radio producer Alex Razo.

“I wanted to bring someone in that could not only be relatable to students, but to light a spark in them,” said iCLU Radio Manager Kyle Tamkin. 

Austin studied communications at Stockton University in Galloway Township, New Jersey where she landed her first paid internship for the Mike and Diane Morning Show and later 99.3 The BUZZ radio station. During the panel on Oct. 10, Austin said that she was the face of the morning show including the station’s afternoon drive from 2014-2019, claiming it to be the best radio learning experience she received as a starter in the radio industry. In 2019, The BUZZ laid Austin off, causing her to buy a one way ticket to LA. 

“They always said that you don’t work in radio until you get fired,” said Austin.

During her time in LA, Austin constantly applied for radio applications online, joined a voice talent search company and soon got hired during the pandemic at iHeartRadio. She has been given two shows since working as an iHeartRadio producer – the Dr. Wendy Walsh Show and the Fork Reporter. She has gone onto produce Dr. Wendy Walsh’s Mating Matters podcast show and started her own podcast, Prettyish, with her co-host Kayla Thomas. 

“That is one of the most beautiful things about radio, because although it is one of the same fields that you are working in there are so many different jobs you can do in that field,” said Austin. 

Austin said she enjoys being in the radio industry because she is able to connect with herself and her audience. She encourages others to be true to themselves and being genuinely organically to you especially when it comes to the radio industry. 

“If you are unapologetically genuinely yourself, people are genuinely going to like you and want you to do good, because they can relate to you if you are a real person,” said Austin. 

Austin said that though she loves and wants to stay in radio, she does want her platform to get her into other branches of entertainment. She hopes staying in radio will help her branch out to be on other morning shows, write her own book, try motivational speaking and do voiceovers for cartoon or video game characters.

President of iCLU Radio Lainey Ranjo said guest speakers, such as Austin, are living examples for others that you can make it into the field that you are currently dreaming of.

“Kayla’s story is inspiring and makes students know that chasing your dreams is absolutely possible and worth it,” said Ranjo. 

Tamkin said radio is a great starting point with a good platform to launch you into other areas of entertainment. Also, he said the iCLU radio club helps students prepare for the entertainment industry based on their individual skills, such as live radio broadcasting, podcasting, social media, post production and live streaming. 

“We focus on giving students an opportunity to have creative freedom and dive deeper into the radio world,” said Ranjo. 

Ranjo said the iCLU and the radio programs welcomes any career interest and helps bring others together to welcome creative minds in all walks of life.