School: Morehouse College
Major Concentration: Sociology
A highly animated and vibrant young man dressed in a retro-style, Nike windbreaker calls the Monday meeting to order. He disperses a set of agendas, greets his collegiate peers, and begins the weekly tradition of defining what "The Yard Radio" means to him. Then, Tyler McCullers coolly rubs his hands together, eyes twinkling, as his self-proclaimed plan to "take over the world" unfolds.
McCullers, a junior at Morehouse College, could be considered a "jack of all trades." A thespian, studying Sociology and pursuing a career in entertainment law, McCullers may not seem like the most focused student in the Atlanta University Center. His ability to couple his varied traits with an even more diverse extracurricular schedule, though, proves otherwise.
"I was never the type of person to be told that I couldn't do anything," McCullers said. "Growing up in New Jersey introduced me to adversity and gave me the tough skin that I need to succeed in a world that has already tried to limit what I can do."
Roselle, New Jersey was a stark contrast to other inner-city cities in the northeastern state. In fact, McCullers describes it as "black suburbia." It was here that McCullers developed a sense of appreciation for his upbringing and drew inspiration from what he saw as an unstoppable force.
"Carla is my only woman," said McCullers, referring to his mother, a production manager for a clothing boutique in New York City. "She's so good at what she does, it's almost like she is moving through this phase in her life effortlessly. I want to come to a point… where I perfect my craft with ease."
The craft that he speaks of is entertainment. Although McCullers once aspired to A-list stardom, his long-term goal is to become a reputable entertainment lawyer. Until he is able to use the title of esquire behind his name, McCullers serves as executive producer for a nation-sweeping radio and entertainment vessel for college students, The Yard Radio.
"The concept of a radio show that informed college audiences about pop culture, campus culture, fashion, and current events is not a new idea," McCullers said. "But a radio show that did that and brought a red-carpet environment to campus events for HBCUs was pretty nonexistent. The Yard Radio is the voice of students like me, and it's not going anywhere, anytime soon."
McCullers' faith in The Yard Radio's longevity is substantiated by a number of landmarks made by the student-run organization. From its humble birth at Hampton University several years ago, The Yard Radio has evolved into a sensational brand.
The broadcast airs live once a week from both Hampton and Clark Atlanta University and streams live from its website. The Yard Radio also has a Green Carpet component, popular Facebook blog, business and entertainment partnerships, as well as an impressive list of celebrity visits from the likes of Farnsworth Bentley, Bobby Valentino, and Janelle Monae. Yard Radio broadcasts are now even available for download on iTunes.
A great deal of The Yard Radio's growth, particularly in the Atlanta market, is due in large part to McCullers. As the Atlanta division's executive producer, McCullers oversees the radio show's scripts, negotiates Green Carpet Events and advertisements, manages funds, and delineates tasks to a staff of over 15 college students. He does so all handling what he deems the most important part of his job: keeping up his team's morale.
"The Yard family has an unmistakable bond," McCullers says. "We support each other, disagree without arguing, and we always get the job done. That's what's important to me. If I make sure my team is happy and working cohesively, everything we touch will turn to gold."
Three schools, too much information, one yard. It is a phrase that was once unknown to a majority of students within the Atlanta University Center. Now, that slogan is branded in the minds of entertainment savvy students who recognize it as the motto of an evolving, college lifestyle brand.
The Yard Radio is gaining momentum both within the academia of college gates and the world of radio, television and entertainment on a national scale. This swift accent to the upper echelon of college radio programming – and radio programming in general – is fastly approaching, thanks in large part to the efforts of McCullers.
Nearly two hours have passed since the weekly meeting commenced. McCullers is writing and sketching every idea that comes to his head on a white, dry-erase board in a library conference room. He picks up a green marker, draws a rudimentary sketch, and turns to his team.
"This is The Yard," said McCullers, pointing to his drawing of the world. "We're on our way to ruling this."By Angel Lenise Robinson
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