The Ohio Center for Broadcasting in Cleveland is a misleading rip-off school that fills the heads of potential students with false information to get them to sign up.
It is with great regret that I too must file this report. Here is my story:
I signed up to join the April 2004 class at The Ohio Center For Broadcasting because a friend of mine was going to the school and he invited me to sit in one of his classes to check it out. I worked in a factory for 15 years and I had to leave that line of work due to lower back and knee problems. On the side, I have had a Mobile DJ Service for the past ten years and after leaving the factory work it has been my only income for the last four years. At the time I was checking out the school, it seemed to be a good way to stay in the field that I loved and get the full time work year around that I was looking for.
After checking out the school I made an appointment to be interviewed as a potential student. During the interview with the placement coordinator, I explained my situation to her in detail so that she would know what I expected and needed from this school. I told her that I needed to find FULL TIME EMPLOYMENT after I completed the course. I had recently filed bankruptcy and to explain it as simply as possible, I was looking to get my life back on track with full time employment.
The placement coordinator assured me that EVERYONE GETS FULL TIME EMPLOYMENT when they complete the course and she also boasted of a 94% job placement record. I figured that I was a smart guy that was willing to work hard in school to learn the trade and I really didn't see why I wouldn't find full time work with the school having a 94% job placement record. The placement coordinator also boasted of their fantastic job placement help that I would receive after graduation.
When someone goes to the school to check it out they have a video playing in the lobby that runs in a continuous loop for potential students to watch. There is misleading information in this video that is simply not true.
They say in the video that students will have MANY opportunities to be in front of the camera to do news broadcasting. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Students are put in groups to do projects and two people only two get to be in front of the camera. Even after complaining to the instructor about not getting a chance to practice in front of the camera, I was still not given the opportunity. He offered to let me be in front of the camera to be graded without any practice but I refused because I wasn't given the opportunity to practice first as the other two students had. I told them that it was unfair to be graded without practice and that I paid just as much as everyone else and I wanted to know why I was not given the same opportunities as the other students. I was given no answer. My complaints fell on def ears.
The video says they use Avid Editor NOT TRUE.
The video says you will do the weather in front of the chroma key NOT TRUE. (we stood in front of the chroma key for 30 seconds each)
The video says you will broadcast a live radio show from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland NOT TRUE.
The video says you will have a FULL HANDS ON EXPERIENCE with everything that has anything to do with television produce, direct, run the board and cameras. THIS IS NOT TRUE. You are put into large groups and assigned a job. That is your job you do only that job. My job in the television part of the course was to push a record button on a tape deck. I asked to be in front of the camera but someone else was given that opportunity and I was out. I think I did get to sit at the control board and push a couple buttons once for about five minutes but basically you don't learn anything that will prepare you for a job.
As far as video editing goes well, that is the biggest joke of all. There are only four video editing bays in the whole school. It is very hard to get a chance to edit video. When our group did our music video, one of the guys in our group had some past experience in video editing so he edited the video. I wanted to learn, so I went in early one day to set up my own files on the computer with the video footage we shot. I couldn't figure it out, so I asked one of the instructors for help. He called one of the instructor assistance guys to give me a hand and I was told that if I stayed over that day and sat in the introduction to video editing class again with the class behind us that he would help me when it was over. So I stayed over and sat in the introduction to video editing class again for two hours as he asked. When I went to the video editing bays to get the help he promised, he was busy with the other class and just blew me off. I never did get the help I asked for. I never did edit any video.
On different occasions I voiced my opinion and concerns with one of the instructors at the school. He told me that I needed to be more aggressive and push my way into getting more help and education. This didn't make sense to me. In the working world I see the need to be aggressive to move ahead but at this school it was something I PAID FOR. Why did I need to be pushy to get my education? He would tell me that the squeaky wheel gets the grease and that I was too quiet. I was a 47 year old man in a group of 19 to 27 year olds. I wonder if he ever heard of equal opportunity.
The school helps you get internships with local radio and TV stations. Typically, the way it works is someone comes into class and gives out information on an internship that is available and it is up to you to try to get it. An internship came in one day with a radio station that I was interested in. I took down the number but every time I tried to call I would get an answering machine. I would leave messages and wait for a return call. Getting frustrated, one day I said something to one of the other students. He told me that he too had tried to get through to this radio station and only got an answering machine. He told me that he went in and spoke to the director of the school and told him of his trouble getting through. He said the director picked up the phone and dialed a number from his memory to this radio station and handed the phone to him (the student) and he got the internship. I thought to myself Man, I'm going to do this too. So, I went to the director and told him of my trouble getting through to this radio station. I asked him if he had a number to call to get through for me. I didn't tell him what the other student told me though. He picked up his phone book on his desk and acted as if he was looking for the number but then looked at me and told me no he didn't have a number for me to call. I just walked out of the room and didn't say anything. Well, I finally got through on my own and did get the internship with no help from the director. Later on, when my final payment was due for the school I was a little short on the amount of the payment. I was speaking to the administrator of the school about my payment and I mentioned this situation about the internship to him. He wasn't too happy about it and within a few minutes the director called me at home. He swore that he didn't remember me coming in and asking for this phone number. He apologized and swore over and over it wasn't intentional. I told him I believed him but to this day I still have a hard time believing that it was a mistake. I think he was shocked I said something. How could he know the number right off the top of his head for one student and not for me? It doesn't make any sense.
Internships were pretty much a joke too. At first I had a good one that actually tried to teach me something in television but my love was for radio and I took a radio internship as soon as I could find one. The radio internship was a joke. The program director only seemed to be interested in whether I could bring in some hot chicks from my class to intern. For the most part I just sat on a couch when I went to my internship at that station. I later moved on to a smaller AM station only to do more sitting even after I offered to scrub walls, clean windows whatever. I just wanted to do something. I had a few interesting and fun internships that were temporary week-end things but for the most part I didn't learn a whole lot.
I was short, as I said, with the last payment. When I signed up I received student loans and a grant but I had to make three payments of $573.00 throughout the course. I had made the first two payments on time but I was short for the last one. I called to make some kind of arrangement. I offered to pay half at the time it was due and the other half in two weeks. They told me no. They told me not to bother coming back until I had the full amount. I missed two days of school because of this. I used my house payment money to make the full payment so I could return to school.
Radio was a little better than TV but the crowded conditions made it hard to get into a studio at times to complete a project. I saw students get into verbal confrontations with other students over studios. I set up my own studio at home to complete projects and that helped me out a lot but many of the students had a rough time getting studio time. In general the instructors for radio were nice people but all you had to do was turn something in and you got an A with no problem. There was no real concern over what you learned in the course. Most things were covered in a very general way and nothing was covered in depth. Funny, the reason I went to school was to LEARN so that I would have the confidence to go out and find a job in this field. I know little more now than I did before I took the course and spent $13,000 to get this little I learned. They boast of offering studio time after class but for people like me that lived 60 miles away on a limited budget it wasn't always possible for me to drive up on off days to do studio work. I could barely afford to drive on class days. Besides, I paid $13,000 for instruction and studio time on your own is not instruction it is practice. I could practice at home.
Job assistance is also a big joke. Here is how it works. They have you fill out a paper at the end of the course stating that you want job assistance. You give them your email address and they send you an email once a week or so with some names and addresses of companies that are looking for help. That's it period. Oh they have a web site too but you need a password to get in and if you don't stay in touch with the job placement person on a weekly basis you don't get into the web site or get the emails. It comes down to this. They send you a few leads and if you get the job they take credit for it. No calls are made on your behalf no interviews are set up nothing. All the information that is sent to you can be found on a half dozen web sites that anybody can look at on the web. The reason for keeping in touch with the placement person on a weekly basis is so that if and when you get a job he can say he helped you and take credit for it. I sent in a demo for a local station that I heard about from a friend. I told the placement person that I sent in this demo and he told me that he knew they were looking for help but he didn't get the information posted or sent out yet. He told me that "IF I WANTED HIM TO CALL THE STATION ON MY BEHALF HE WOULD." Now think about this I paid $13,000 for this course and he asks me if I want him to call on my behalf? Why doesn't he just do his job and call? That was the only way he would get credit for me getting the job if they hired me because I found the lead on my own so because of that he was willing to call for me. It's all just a big joke. Most of the job leads that are sent are for jobs you have no experience or qualifications for. I got an email from another student in my class and it said this:
Have any of you guys realized that a lot of the job listings that they send to us we are not even qualified to do. Account executive is a big one that he keeps sending. When did we learn anything about account executives?
To sum things up it comes down to this. You DO NOT get the education you pay for. You DO NOT get the job assistance you pay for. You DO NOT get the hands on training you pay for. It is a scam that exploits people who dream of being on the radio or TV. They say to be positive and have a good attitude. Well, I did have when I started. I showed up, did the work and graduated with a 4.0 average. You would think that with a 4.0 average and a 94% job placement I would have had a job the day I walked out! Full time work yea right. I was told by an instructor (that was the director of the school when I signed up) that my chances of getting full time work were slim to none when I graduated. This was just a few weeks before I graduated. He also told me that THE PLACEMENT COORDINATOR SHOULD HAVE NEVER TOLD ME THAT EVERYONE GETS FULL TIME WORK! He told me that himself. I was misled
If you are looking to get into a broadcasting career I suggest not going to this school. They brag about how they know EVERYONE in the broadcasting industry and how you shouldn't burn bridges when trying to break into this career. Well, I guess I burned the bridges by writing this report. But hey, I was told I could get a good paying FULL TIME JOB after I went to this school. Not a part time job as a board op or in promotions assistant in Idaho. The worst part about it all is that I got a call a couple of weeks after I joined the school for a job I really wanted in another field. I turned the job down because I was going to be in radio yea right. Oh and my friend that was going to this school when I signed up he is working in a factory now As far as other students in my class, I don't think anyone has found a job yet. In fact, a few of us sat down and figured the real percentage of students that found work in the last graduating class. It was nowhere near 94% and for the record if you get a ONE DAY GIG after graduation they consider it job placement. Most of the instructors there work part time in the field and teach at the school to make ends meet. They are still looking for full time work too.