While many people spend their winters hiding indoors from the North Dakota cold, Landon Bahl spent his with artists like Luke Bryan and Thomas Rhett.
By: Averi Haugesag
In the words of country superstar, Jason Aldean in his hit single, “Crazy Town, ”the Nashville music scene is a, “crazy town full of neon dreams (where) everybody plays and everybody sings.” This year, that line became reality for 23-year-old marketing and entrepreneurship student, Landon Bahl. While many people spend their winters hiding indoors from the North Dakota cold, Bahl spent his with artists like Luke Bryan and Thomas Rhett.
“I wanted a solid internship before graduation. I’ve had some smaller ones but I knew I needed something bigger in a music city because entertainment is the route I want to go. So, I applied to places all over the country. It just so happened CMT (Country Music Television) in Nashville is the one that called me back,” says Bahl.
Bahl has built himself quite the resume in the entertainment industry both on and off campus. Outside of the university, he has worked a number of music festivals around Minnesota and North Dakota. In April of 2015, he even landed himself a job as a backstage production assistant at the American Country Music (ACM) Awards. In 2016, he returned to the ACM Awards to work as a backstage talent assistant. At UND, Bahl spent more than a year entertaining huge crowds while working as the in-arena entertainment emcee at the Ralph Engelstad Arena (REA).
While he loved to emcee at the REA, last January, Bahl traded in his microphone and hockey jersey for boots and a cowboy hat.
Bahl was one of fourteen interns at CMT. He primarily worked on production of the TV shows Hot 20 Countdown and CMT Southbound.
“I suggested artists to my producers that I thought we should talk to along with drafting questions. I also did a lot of marketing stuff. We had to deal with ads that were in the TV show, like making sure a sponsor gets their commercial played in a certain episode the right number of times, things like that. I was able to write some scripts and get a couple of my own script ideas into the show, so it was cool to see those come alive. But, I also did things that weren’t as sexy like cue sheets and closed captioning scripts,” says Bahl.
While Bahl himself only made it on to TV once when he rolled a cake out on to the set for an artist’s birthday, he did get to watch live rehearsals.
“I worked on CMT Crossroads a little bit where you basically pair a country artist up with an artist from another genre and they sing together. A couple of the big names I saw were Nick Jonas and Thomas Rhett—awesome collaboration— and Luke Bryan and Jason Derulo,” says Bahl.
While Bahl didn’t necessarily get to meet a lot of the artists, he did see them around the office. “At CMT, with the radio and everything else, there’s always celebrities in the building. Like, Billy Ray Cyrus was just in the elevator with me the other day, you know? So it’s just kind of funny. Sometimes I’d have to take a step back and just be like wow, I have a pretty cool job,” says Bahl.
Bahl says his favorite aspect of the internship was dealing with the artists. “One time, Brett Eldredge was co-host of one of the shows so our team had to interact with him to describe games, etc. So, I didn't get to really sit down and have a conversation with him, but I did get to interact with him and some of the other artists. It’s something the average person doesn’t get to do every day, so that was pretty cool,” says Bahl.
While his internship came to a wrap in April, Bahl hopes to land himself a full-time position in the entertainment industry somewhere down the road. He says his dream job is to become the host of some kind of TV show. “The entertainment industry is fun. I mean, what’s not fun about it? You’re making fun for other people to come and have fun and it’s a fast-pace, on-the-go atmosphere. I love that. I thrive in those kind of environments, so that’s why I chose entertainment. I love music, I love live events,” says Bahl.
Bahl plans on graduating from UND in December of 2016 with a double major in entrepreneurship and marketing as well as a minor in sports business. Following graduation, he plans to move to a music city such as New York, Austin, L.A. or maybe even Nashville—a town where, “everybody plays and everybody sings,”—to pursue his life-long dream.