Student spotlight: Cinnamon Player, KNWD’s first black, female GM

Trinity Velazquez

Viewpoints Editor

“I really wasn’t expecting to be (general) manager,” Player said. “Through all the semesters that I was with KNWD, I wasn’t expecting it.”

Player has been with KNWD since her freshman year, starting as an unpaid intern. When she first came to NSU, she was a psychology major.

“I went to freshman connection and realized, ‘this isn’t for me,’” she said. “As soon as I sat down someone started talking, and I was like ‘yeah this isn’t for me whatsoever.’”

“I have to change my major before I start, so I thought ‘what do I like to do?’” she said. “I know I like being creative.”

Player joined the communications field and then wondered about her next step.

“Really, I was worried about how I was going to make money while I was in school,” she said.

She forgot to put work study on her FAFSA, so she started to find jobs on campus to get extra scholarships.

“I don’t remember how, but I found the radio station when I was looking up stuff,” she said. “I was also in band, and there was a person who knew one of the people that worked at KNWD. Then they introduced me to him.”

That man was James Leach, the audio productions manager before her.

“He was like, ‘so what part of radio are you interested in?’, and I was like, ‘anything,’” she said.

Leach told her to apply for freshman scholar, a position in which a freshman can receive a scholarship through any organization in new media.

“I applied, and I waited and waited,” she said.

Through a series of unfortunate mishaps with technology, she accidentally missed her scheduled interview and didn’t get the scholarship.

She emailed Courtney Page, the general manager at the time, and Page told her that she would be great as a DJ because of how she answered her application. Page was open to hiring volunteers, so Player joined the team as an intern.

One day, she popped her head into the audio productions office.

“I just rolled my chair over and I peeped in,” she said. “He (Leach) stopped what he was doing, and he was looking. I was like, ‘can I watch you?’”

“I was amazed by what he was doing,” she said. “He’s recording and editing. It was cool, and I wanted to learn it.”

From then on, she would sit with Leach in his office and watch him work.

“That was my set spot,” she said.

“One day he was talking of leaving KNWD, and I wanted to apply for radio productions assistant,” she said. “I asked who was going to take his spot, and he was like, ‘you could take it.’”

She applied for the position in spring 2017, and she got the job as audio productions director. As a freshman, she was the youngest department head.

She was the audio productions director from spring 2017 until spring 2019.

Player is a senior communications major with a concentration in broadcast and digital media. She is minoring in business because of her background in audio productions. She wants to learn more about reporting audio.

“I watched staff come and go,” she said. “Then the time for general manager came. At first people weren’t looking at me, and then they started looking at me. I was like, ‘audio productions for life.’”

“I was like ‘not gonna be me,’” she said. “I had no interest in a leadership position because I didn’t think that I could be a leader.”

Even though she thought she couldn’t be a leader, she had many ideas she wanted to bring to KNWD.

“I always had all these ideas for the station, and I love the radio station,” she said. “I spend so much time in the radio station,” she says.

Spring 2019 came and Kenneth Burns, the advisor for student media, asked if she would apply for general manager.

Everyone was asking her if she would apply and she thought to herself, “Look school just started. Just give me a second.”

“I was also worried I wouldn’t be able to take the position anyway because general manager position is on a year basis, and I expect to graduate in the fall of 2019,” she said.

They worked something out because it had been done before, and Player became the general manager at the end of last spring.

She’s only able to be the general manager for this semester, but she’s already been recognized by Dr. Jim Henderson, the University of Louisiana System president. Actor Robert Ri’chard has also stopped by to visit the station.

“I feel like general manager is more of a guide,” she said. “You’re guiding everybody. It’s not about telling the staff what to do. It’s making sure you’re guiding them where they need to go and moving forward.”

Trinity Velazquez

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