Ailes Recounts Time At WOUB

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A news industry leader and Ohio University alumnus will speak Monday night at OU on the future of Fox News as part of a public forum.

Roger Ailes is the chairman and CEO of the company.
Ailes' presentation for the George Washington Forum is called "Fox News: Past, Present and Future."  In 1996, Ailes' launched the 24-hour Fox News Channel. Prior to his time with Fox, Ailes also served as an advisor to both the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush campaigns. 
He is a 1962 Ohio graduate.
Ailes says he originally arrived at Ohio University wanting to fly fighter planes.  He participated in the Air Force ROTC until it became apparent his poor eyesight would keep him grounded.
He says after that, he was looking around for something to do and found WOUB.
"They were looking for somebody to do a show called "Radio Digest" at WOUB, which was to read a lot of articles, rewrite them, condense them down and a do a 15 minute radio show.  So, I rewrote a bunch of things and came in and auditioned," said Ailes.  They hired him.  Within two years, he was the student station manager.
Ailes says he learned more at the radio station than he did in the classroom setting. The gig wasn't Ailes' only airtime experience in Southeast Ohio.
"I had to make some money.  I used to, nobody knew this at the time, but I would drive to WNPO-Middleport/Pomeroy, Ohio, and work under a different name.  I was a rock and roll disc jockey down there," he explained.
Ailes credits WOUB for lighting the broadcasting spark for him.  He says he wanted to be where the excitement was, and seven years after leaving WOUB, he found himself in the midst of a historically exciting event.
"Suddenly, I'm standing in the Oval Office and I came up with the idea of a live feed from the moon and the earth. Basically, I was a coordinator for the White House, but I was working the network pool, and set up the first interplanetary shot between the earth and the moon," he says.
As for his quick rise in the ranks of broadcasting, from gopher at 22 to executive producer of The Mike Douglas Show at 26, Ailes chalks it up to hard work.
"There was opportunity, we were turning out 90 minutes of talk variety television a day with some of the biggest stars in the business and there was no margin for error and you had to be good and I was willing to work 24 hours a day, so I think it was literally a matter of being in the right place at the right time."
The George Washington Forum is open to the public.  It will be held on the 4th floor of Baker University Center at 7:15 p.m.  
Ailes' was interviewed by WOUB General Manager Tom Hodson in a recent taping of Conversations From Studio B.