On the Air

image3By Marcos Hung Santander

La Buena 101.9 FM radio on-air personality Lizett Camarena came through the journalism program at College of Southern Nevada and now finds herself in a dream job in the industry.

Camarena loves her job at La Buena. She’s been there for the past two years after she accomplished her coursework at CSN including the radio internship she took at Lotus Broadcasting Corp., which Andrew Kolb—who runs the radio program at CSN—helped her get. Fortunately she was picked up by La Buena, a Spanish-broadcasting station of the Lotus brand.

Camarena reflected on the important step Kolb took to get her into the field.

While she was in school Kolb was on air at KOMP rock station 92.3 FM. He mentioned to her that she could visit the station; she took him up on it. Although KOMP’s format was different than what she was hoping to do—it was a rock station done in English and she was hoping to do entertainment in Spanish—

visiting KOMP was pretty cool for her to be in the studio and see how everything worked. “Since he knew I wanted to do it in Spanish he told me about the program director from La Buena,” said Camarena, which led her to meet a producer and ultimately get an internship that led her to her current job.

“She was a great student,” said Kolb, who has been in the industry for nearly 30 years. “She was a diamond in the rough and we polished her.”

image7Kolb reflected on how Camarena went the extra distance to build her skills and portfolio in and out of class. She would spend extra studio time beyond assignments to record in both English and Spanish. “Her Spanish was better than her English,” Kolb said. “She was an exceptional student.”

“When I first met Liz, I saw a talented young lady,” said Alex Lozano, on-air personality for La Buena. “She came to Lotus as an intern and always mentioned her passion for the business. Liz has a lot of creativity, which helps us produce a better show for our listeners. I was surprised that at her young age she knew what she wanted and knew what she had to do to obtain it.”

Prior to school Camarena knew she wanted to be in the field of communication. She wasn’t sure what branch of broadcast she should pursue. Eventually she discovered her love of radio at CSN.

“At first I kinda didn’t know,” Camarena said. “I knew I wanted media but I wasn’t sure if it was TV or radio. I was always leaning more towards radio because when I was 16 I would follow around disc jockeys at their [public events]. I was a fan of the on-air DJs and I would always follow them and try to win tickets and all that fun stuff.”

Along the way Camarena had to face several obstacles; she found ways to overcome them.

“One of the challenges for me being on-air was being spontaneous and [improvising],” Camarena said. “I always felt that I had to have something planned or if I didn’t everything would go wrong. That was my biggest fear.”

image9“There were times when I would get discouraged because it was hard when you start,” Camarena said. “Sometimes you get desperate. You lose patience. I would think this is not for me.”

She realized step-by-step, though, that she could do it and she persevered.

“Everything is little by little, looking at your progress,” Camarena added. “I felt like I was practicing and I would sound the same and I would get discouraged. Then I would listen to [my recordings] every other week. I noticed there was a difference but then when I heard other people tell me they could hear my progress that motivated me to keep on going. They’re professionals so you know they won’t lie to you and I would ask them for an honest criticism.”

Camarena has since learned many life lessons during her time as an on-air personality.

“Being on air has taught me to always be ready because you never know what could go wrong,” Camarena said. “The radio is very spontaneous. Another thing I would do is write out what I was going to say and read it so when I would say it on the radio it wouldn’t sound like I was reading it. Little by little I was able to speak without having the need to read something.”

One of the reasons why Camarena loves to be on-air is the adrenaline rush she gets right before turning on the microphone and going live, but that’s not the only thing she loves.

Camarena enjoys meeting her fans at public events. She realizes being on air connects her with many listeners. “It’s really cool to change people’s mood and it’s something you would never realize since you’re at the studio unless they call or tell you. You never know how many people you impact.”

At the end of the day Camarena looks back at her journey. “It feels really good. It’s a good accomplishment.”

“I’ve always been stubborn,” Camarena said. “It’s something I’ve always said: If you want to accomplish something you have to be stubborn.”

She offers advice to those who would like to be in her shoes. “Stay focused on what it is that you want and reach out to people. There’s always going to be people that are willing to help you out.”

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