February 2019 Alumni Spotlight--Stephen Schram

February 1, 2019 - Ellie Denison

Stephen Schram graduated from Michigan State University in 1975 with a Bachelors of Arts in Television and Radio. Though he is a die-hard Spartan Alumnus, he is currently the Executive Director and General Manager of Michigan Radio WUOM in Ann Arbor (U of M’s radio station). He is also a member of Michigan’s Association of Broadcasters (MAB), the Sales Leadership Minor's most recent partner.

Schram has experienced a very successful career in the broadcasting industry.  Immediately after graduation, he started his career at WVIC in Lansing, during which he built himself a reputable on-air personality known as Dr. Steve Edwards, "The Good Doc of Rock".  Briefly thereafter, Schram made his way to the Detroit area and initially received an announcing job for Detroit's WNIC AM Station, but was eventually recruited as the program director at Detroit's WTWR radio, known as the "Tower 92 FM".  He then moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and worked as the operations manager for WZUU FM/AM Radio, and then transitioned to the general manager position. Though he did not have any prior sales experience, he had a vast knowledge of the industry, and at age 28, Schram became fully immersed in the career of broadcasting sales.

As a graduate of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences (ComArtSci), Schram saw a gap in the Television and Radio curriculum at MSU, which focused heavily on preparing students to become on air personalities but lacked competencies on how to sell media.  In 2005, Schram, a member of the ComArtSci Alumni Association Board, approached a former dean of the College about implementing a sales program at Michigan State University, since a large majority of new grads tend to start their careers in sales. The dean supported the idea and asked Communication faculty to begin developing a program. Those faculty eventually partnered with Marketing faculty, and together they developed the curriculum that became the Sales Communication Specialization in 2009, later becoming the Sales Leadership Minor (SLM) in 2015.

Around that time, Schram was invited to observe the All-MSU Sales Competition, and after seeing the talent demonstrated by SLM students, Schram supported MAB’s move to invest in the minor to assist with identifying high quality, trained sales talent for their member stations.  Schram encourages students to explore the broadcasting industry because it provides an opportunity to make a career out of building relationships in a rewarding, yet challenging, career in outside sales. Schram stated that the best part of his day “is meeting with clients". When prompted for advice on pursuing a sales role, Schram expressed that students need to "make up their mind what they want to be, and then be excellent at it...find your passion (in sales) because once you receive that first yes, there's no finer feeling."