Updated Thu, May 2, 2013 4:49 pm
Dr. Carolyn Bailey Lewis has been named Director and General Manager Emerita by the Ohio University Board of Trustees.
Lewis spent 38 years working in public media, holding many roles including writer, announcer, producer, fundraiser, on-air talent, community and public relations director and director and general manager.
She spent much of her career at WNPB-TV (Morgantown, W.Va.) and was named director and general manager in 1993, making her the first African American woman to manage a full-service public television station in the United States. She became WOUB's director and general manager in 1997 and served in that role until 2011.
Under Lewis’ leadership, WOUB Public Media went through many changes and growth, one of the largest being the transition from analog television to digital transmission. The federal government mandated broadcasters become digitally compatible by 2009 and Lewis led the efforts.
She says it was the most challenging project during her time at WOUB.
“Actually designed and developed by the Chief Technology Officer at the time, David Wiseman, it really took a village – the efforts of just about every staff member to make the transition possible,” said Lewis. “From writing grants and raising funds to purchasing and installations, it was a mammoth undertaking by many talented staff members.”
This transition included adding additional television signals, which took the station from broadcasting two television signals to broadcasting six.
Lewis says she has numerous memories from her time at WOUB, some of them that will always remain special in her heart. One special memory was adding the student-produced high school football show Gridiron Glory.
“One of the most satisfying experiences [during her tenure] was with the debut of ‘Gridiron Glory’ and seeing the students rally around that program,” Lewis said. “There were more than 70 students involved in one way or the other, from shooting video and editing to reporting and hosting. The show was bumpy at first, but improved over the years to win regional Emmy awards.”
The show is still in production and will begin its 15th season in August.
Lewis says the people she encountered will always hold a special place in her heart. Thousands of Ohio University students trained at WOUB during her career and she says seeing them go on to have successful careers is very exciting.
“I’ll always remember John Klemack,” said Lewis. “John was one of the first students WOUB sent to cover a national convention. He did a wonderful job and I told him, ‘John, one day I’ll be retired and watching you on national television. You’re just that good.’ It’s happened, as I’m retired and I see him frequently on NBC, along with many other students such as Allie LaForce, now with CBS Sports.
She goes on to say, “WOUB has propelled countless students to successful, professional careers, giving them myriad opportunities from their freshman year that they won’t experience at many other colleges or universities.”
Lewis says being recognized as Director and General Manager Emerita is an honor.
“Ohio University and WOUB hold special places in my heart and to be named Director and General Manger Emerita by the Board of Trustees is an enormous honor,” said Lewis. “I certainly treasure my years at WOUB and look forward to being a member of the Emeriti Association and to remaining an active member of the Ohio University community.”