Lesson 3. Station Structure

  • Station Structure
  • Each station staff is governed by a Staff‐head
  • The LION as a whole is governed by five student officers elected by the general staff
  • The LION is advised by alumni and occasionally some local radio professionals.
  • The LION is also supported by the Penn State Media Alumni Interest Group (AIG), which is an affiliate of the Penn State Alumni Association.
    • AIGs exist for current students, alumni, and supporters of large or popular campus groups.
  • In any given radio station, the program director wields much authority.

Conceptual Organization Structure

Every academic year, students will change the exact nature of the organization’s structure, but this presents an example of how the station has operated at various points in time and can be adapted from year to year.



  • Staff‐heads are elected by their staff members or appointed by the previous staff‐head
  • Staff‐heads are responsible for scheduling air talent and covering open shifts (acts as PD of staff)
  • Assemble and maintain Staff roster and shift‐chart, and relay to program director: name, e‐ mail, phone, address, student id, day(s) of week and time(s) each staff member holds air‐ shift.
  • Act as liaison between officers and staffers
    • Ensure staff members are aware of all updated to policies/procedures and officers’ decisions.
    • Relay to officers the needs and concerns of staff members, and take responsibility of staff to ensure they follow all policies/procedures.
  • The Staff‐head maintains quality control of his on‐air staff and may handle music director duties or delegate them to a music director within the staff, who then focuses on inventory, airplay, charting, etc.
    • Music Staff‐heads are responsible for maintaining their show’s format!
    • Music Staff‐heads ensure that their staff is reporting to trade journals.
      • Trade Journals – Like College Music Journal (CMJ), trade journals are publications that track airplay on college radio stations. Reporting our playlists ensures that we continue to receive the newest music for free.

Student Management Structure (Officers)

President/General Manager – The President/General Manager functions as the head of the organization and highest ranking student officer. All staff members, as well as the other officers, are ultimately responsible for answering to the President. The President acts as a public representative of the station to Penn State University and the media, oversees the work of the other officers, and provides for general station operation.

The President/General Manager is ultimately responsible for:

  • Presiding over the progression of total station operation
  • Chairing and running all officer meetings
  • Overseeing officers’ progress and their execution of duties from week‐to‐week, or from meeting‐to‐meeting
  • Prioritizes all the tasks/duties/responsibilities of other officers and staffers and what needs to get done, along with their ambitions. Then he/she sets a course and a plan to achieve and execute what needs to get done and what realistically can be done.

Vice President/Program Director – The Vice President/Program Director is directly in charge of the Staff‐heads and is ultimately responsible for everything that goes out over the air. He/she has FINAL authority over all day‐to‐day programming decisions and also ensures the Staff‐heads are effectively handling their responsibilities. As in any radio station, the VP/Program Director oversees the on‐air programming operation of station, and is in charge of on‐air personnel. Thus this position is analogous to “Secretary” in PSU student organizations, because the secretary maintains the organization’s updated membership lists. Since the VP/Program Director is also a volunteer, much of the personnel management responsibilities below are to be run in conjunction with the help of the staff‐heads.

The Vice President/Program Director is ultimately responsible for:

  • All on‐air personnel, board operators, signatories of programming log.
  • All such personnel following FCC rules/guidelines, and University and station rules/policies/procedures.
  • Making sure all air‐personnel are adequately trained and informed with ALL requisite knowledge for air‐shift and signing of programming of log. For technical training see Operations director.
  • Assembling, with the help of staff‐heads, a station‐wide staff‐roster and shift‐chart. ‐Scheduling of programming
  • Coverage of time‐shifts
  • Authorization of any special programs; and, in conjunction with other officers, decides upon any official changes to the programming grid.
  • Overseeing the timely completion, quality and style of production, and on‐air imagery that defines or *brands* the station name and product.
  • Checking skimmer/logger computer for recordings of shows to evaluate DJ and on‐air performance, and verify if obligations were being aired and aired at correct times.
  • Making sure DJs record shows on their own tapes, and pulling tapes for such verification if the skimmer is down, and for quality control critique.

Operations Director – The Ops Director serves as the overall technical director of The LION, working with the general staff, webmaster, and with professional engineers to ensure all of the station’s technical concerns are properly addressed. As student chief engineer, he/she may work as apprentice in conjunction with an outside and/or professional engineer or affiliate, and

The Operations Director is ultimately responsible for:

  • The technical side of station operation.
  • Fix or repair minor problems and malfunctions
  • Checks to make sure DJs and board‐ops all sign the log, take meter readings, perform the Legal ID, and attach any EAS print‐outs to the log.
  • Refills EAS printer paper rolls as needed.
  • Organizes and keeps backlog of logs for preceding 2 years for possible inspections.
  • Works with or reports to whomever is the designated station Chief Operator.
  • Assist or even oversee the hands‐on training of new DJs and board‐ops on the equipment.
  • Take and maintain inventory of all station equipment, track and regulate the signing out of any portable equipment.
  • Also check the skimmer‐logger to make sure Legal Id was aired and at correct times.
  • Brainstorms and assesses what new equipment and/or upgrades need to be purchased and budgeted in the future.

Promotions Director/Webmaster – The Promotions Director serves as the public relations/promotional director for the station. The VP is in charge of the station’s promotional staff and works to make The LION visible within the greater Penn State and, specifically, PSU student communities. Typically the second highest student officer and

The Promotions Director is ultimately responsible for:

  • Fills in for any particular GM‐role in case of absence unless GM appoints another officer.
  • In conjunction with president acts as student liaison between the station and outside entities, inside and outside of the university.
  • Focuses on external image of the station as an operation and organizational and business entity.
  • Is primarily focused on promotions. All promotional events are to be promoting the station’s name, reputation, image, presence, involvement and relevance to the student and local community.
  • Develops and oversees a promotions staff and promotional events, and may appoint a director of promotions or events.*

*As a PSU student org, we can sponsor events on campus. We promote events on the air, as it is our mission to serve the community and to be a central part of local and student life. Likewise we benefit from having our name and logo on any/all advertising and banner space before and during events that we promote and/or sponsor. However we don’t slap our name onto events or merely use the LION’s student organizational status to reserve University venue space and procure UPAC funding just for the sake of putting on events. The station is not a “promotions agency”. 

Treasurer/Financial Director – The Financial Director oversees all of the station’s finances, including donations, underwriting money, UPAC budget requests and allocations. He/she monitors the station’s accounts and has authority over all financial transactions.

Accountant duties:

  • Chief accountant of station’s finances.
  • Keeps regular tabs of money coming in and expenditures going out.
  • Reads and learns the annual Associated Student Activities Treasurer’s Handbook, the annual University Park Allocation Committee Policy Book, and Student Activity Fee Handbook.
  • Gets signed in at ASA and frequently checks the WKPS Student Organizational folder in the ASA office
  • Signs off on Purchase Orders and expenditures out of student organizational money in the ASA account.
  • Internally approves and signs off on any/all budget requests submitted to UPAC on behalf of the organization.

Revenue Raising:

  • Handles or appoints someone to handle the duties of Sales.
  • Recruits, or instructs the sales director to recruit sales reps who are then managed by the Sales director or Treasurer acting as sales manager.
  • Oversees and directs the active finding of and follow‐up of leads, closing of contracts, and relationship development with prospective and new clients.


  • The Sales Department is the most important staff at any commercial radio station
  • The sales staff contacts clients and sells them advertising air time on the station
  • A radio salesperson is called an account executive
  • At The Lion, our account execs contact potential underwritersUnderwriting with The Lion is especially valuable to businesses looking to target the student audience – we run advertisements with greater frequency and lower cost than commercial stations, and since we are a non-profit arm of non-prof PSU, all underwriting payments are tax deductible charitable donations
  • As previously explained, legal differences separate underwriting from advertising
  • The cost of underwriting varies, depending on how long a spot will run and how many times a day
  • The sales staff must also maintain relations with current clients and collect their monthly payments
  • Account execs make a 10% commission on sales, the Sales Manager makes 15%