Broadcaster sponsors talent institute

For Immediate Release: Nov. 4, 2013

Kerby Confer

BLOOMSBURG — A longtime broadcaster who was “on the air” in cities including Williamsport, Harrisburg, Syracuse, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., is sponsoring a National Radio Talent Institute at Bloomsburg University, beginning in summer 2014.

Kerby Confer first discovered his love of broadcasting as a 15-year-old listening to his transistor radio late into the night. He hopes to launch a new generation of radio professionals through the Confer Radio Talent Institute at BU, supported by a gift of $250,000 to the Bloomsburg University Foundation. The gift will cover the costs of the Radio Talent Institute for five years and provide about $12,000 annually in scholarships to BU mass communications students who are planning radio careers.

The 10-day Radio Talent Institute, featuring a curriculum designed by the National Radio Talent System, will be open to 25 rising juniors, rising seniors and recent graduates. Participants will be selected based on an application process that includes an essay, letter of recommendation and work samples. The student fee is $335 and the first institute will run from July 7 to 16, 2014. The Radio Talent Institute also is offered at Appalachian State and Western Kentucky universities.

Confer, a native of Williamsport, started his broadcasting career at age 16 with WMPT, Williamsport. In his 20s, he accepted a position with Baltimore’s WCAO, which led to his move into television. At WBAL-TV, he hosted “The Kerby Scott Show” from 1965 to 1969. John Waters, his assistant, wrote the script for the play and film “Hairspray” based on his experiences with the show.

Confer later moved into management and ownership of stations across the country. Since 1969, he has owned an interest in and operated more than 200 station licenses and, today, has 70 properties. He was inducted into the Pennsylvania Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2003 and received the Ward L. Quaal Pioneer Award in recognition of his contribution to broadcasting and the community, in 2010. Confer’s granddaughter, Katie Cantrell, is a senior at Bloomsburg University.

For information on the Confer Radio Talent Institute or to apply, see

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. BU serves approximately 10,000 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Education, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.