The Face Behind the McCormick Renovation


Members of the BU Radio Club (WHSK 91.1FM) and Kerby Confer at the Scholarship Dinner in 2022. These students featured are recipients of the Kerby Confer Scholarship. Photo by Marillen Castle.

Caleb Brown, Staff Writer

“Who is Kerby Confer”, is a question on campus spurred by the new renovations coming to McCormick after the University was given 5 million dollars to convert the space into the Kerby Confer Media Center. 

Kerby Confer is a founder of Forever Media, with a vast experience of owning and operating over two hundred radio stations across Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland. 

When Kerby was a senior in high school the world of music changed. Rock’n’roll was beginning to hit the shelves and suddenly music went from big band to the likes of Elvis. 

While tuning into some of the out-of-town stations,he would stay up pretending to be a DJ. Kerby was denied by many stations he applied to due to lack of experience. 

However, when Kerby was only 15 years old, a station began construction in his hometown, Williamsport; he offered to work for the owner for free in exchange for a job when the station got on its feet.

Subsequently, he would attend Lycoming College for accounting, and eventually flunked out. He returned to the station with a 3,000 dollar bill to pay. Later relocating to Baltimore, he pioneered one of the first integrated dance shows and served as a personal host to major hits of the time, including the Rolling Stones and Beatles. 

Further down the road, while visiting a college campus in North Carolina, he learned about a radio talent institute held there. The event would run from 8 a.m. to dinner time and would be attended by DJs, managers, and salespeople. When he returned home, he planned to open his own talent institute in Pennsylvania.

He took the proposal to State College and, on the day the paperwork was to be signed was the day the Jerry Sandusky scandal broke, shutting the idea of the institute at State College.

That was until the following month, when he went to Bloomsburg to see his granddaughter. She worked for Dean Brown, and the two talked about the institute. “Why not have it here?” Dean Brown suggested.

Since then, the campus has housed the Confer Radio Talent Institute yearly growing it to the point where the Radio Advertising Bureau has begun to fund it. He happily stated, “I expect that the radio talent institute will be better than before.”

However, Kerby is not finished his work. When he tried to get into the radio industry, there was nowhere teaching it. He had to figure it out for himself. 

With this in mind, he wished to establish a media center in central Pennsylvania where students could learn radio without having to relocate to the big cities. Confer lastly shared, “Radio leads to all media tv, advertising, and PR.