Ann Marie on cruise in 2019
Ann Marie Muehlhauser visiting with parrots on a cruise in Honduras in December 2019.

Former WOUB News Director Knows Value of Newsroom to Region

Posted on:

< < Back to

Ann Marie Muehlhauser was a professional staff member from 1980-1987 

 ATHENS, OH – Many of WOUB’s viewers and listeners are relying on WOUB’s newsroom these days for the latest news and information regarding the Coronavirus pandemic. Former WOUB News Director and Assistant News Director Ann Marie Muehlhauser says WOUB’s newsroom has an important role to play in keeping the region informed, and she’s proud to have been a part of it.

“There were several big news stories during my tenure,” said Muehlhauser. “There was the Millfield train derailment, the collapse of a cooling tower down on the Ohio River in Northern Washington County, and we also covered when John Glenn announced he was going to be running for president in New Concord.”

Muehlhauser has gone by a few different names since her time at WOUB, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the imprint WOUB left on her heart. As she was called back then, Ann Marie Grycza, started at WOUB as a student in 1974.

“One of my first volunteer jobs there was working for WOUB News Director John Chalfant as a gofer in the November election coverage,” said Muehlhauser. “That got me hooked! WOUB became my social life. I worked in the newsroom, ran camera, stage managed and did on-air radio newscasts.”

Muehlhauser took advantage of every opportunity that came her way. She was able to get involved, get paid and network in a way that created career opportunities for her when she graduated in 1977.

Ann Marie in studio“Back then the students also operated Buckeye Sound out of a closet in the WOUB newsroom. We worked with the Ohio Associated Press (AP) office in Columbus. Staffers would call Ohio newsmakers, interview them and edit into soundbites. We’d call AP, which would then print our offerings on the state broadcast news wire,” said Muehlhauser. “Working at Buckeye Sound was a great way to network with radio broadcasters around the state, and that was how I got my first job after graduation. Barbara Burnside, the news director at WMPO in Pomeroy, was leaving for a job at WRFD in Columbus; I heard about it through Buckeye Sound and was hired to replace her in Meigs County. Strangely enough, when Barbara left WRFD for a job with the state of Ohio, I was hired to replace her in Columbus too.”

But Muehlhauser’s time at WOUB wasn’t finished. “In 1979, WOUB got a grant to add another full-time staffer in the newsroom who would also teach in the Ohio University Journalism School,” said Muehlhauser. “I was hired by then News Director Bruce Cuthbertson and went to work with him and Assistant News Director Curt Steiner at the beginning of 1980.”

Muehlhauser started in January, just in time to be part of the coverage of the Millfield train derailment. Nine chemical tank cars derailed about 10 miles north of Athens. Some of the tankers contained flammable, toxic material, and officials feared it would rupture. About 750 people were evacuated from their homes.

Large studio shot“Students got to cover important stories. The news director, Cuthbertson, was intolerant of any mistakes or errors. He didn’t take the fact that you were a student as an excuse. WOUB was a professional newsroom with a professional attitude and behavior. We were going out on 50,000 watts. We couldn’t make mistakes.”

The assistant news director, Steiner, left WOUB in 1981 to work as an aide to the Ohio Senate leadership and was replaced by long-time WATH News Director Fred Kight. Cuthbertson eventually left to become an aide to Ohio Congressman John Kasich, and Muehlhauser was promoted to his job.

“I understood the WOUB newsroom from both sides of the equation. I was a student and knew where students were coming from. I had also been out working in the professional world. I was able to join both together,” said Muehlhauser.

Muehlhauser left WOUB in 1987 to become a producer and assignment editor at WBNS-TV in Columbus. After a brief stint in public relations for an electric utility in Maryland, she was hired by Cedar Point in 1989 as a public relations assistant. Muehlhauser retired from there 26 years later as the promotions and advertising manager.

“I spent seven years on the professional staff at WOUB, and I’m so proud of all of the students that worked in the newsroom back then,” said Muehlhauser. “They had professional standards and had what it took to make it in the real world.”