Larry Shields Headshot

Former WOUB Student Becomes Director of Engineering at WCPO in Cincinnati

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Larry Shields graduated from Ohio University in 2006

ATHENS, OH – When Larry Shields was a student working at WOUB Public Media, he knew the hands-on, real-world experience would be valuable to launch his career, but he didn’t realize it was experience that he would continue to draw on every day and would shape his entire career path.

“Working at WOUB taught me about interpersonal relationships and how do you work with other people like professional staff members and colleagues, as well as how to train new people,” said Shields. “I had no idea I was training to become a TV manager in college. I made a lot of mistakes and was able to learn from them.”

Shields, who graduated in 2006 with a degree in telecommunications, is now the director of engineering at WCPO TV in Cincinnati. Cincinnati is Shields’ hometown, and it’s a place he loves. Shields admits it was hard for him to leave The Queen City for college at Ohio University. But, others at his high school had come to Athens and told Shields about the opportunity to work at WOUB. He felt it was something he had to do.

“I wanted to do broadcasting,” said Shields. “And I wanted to be able to work somewhere like WOUB. WOUB has a signal that covers Southeast Ohio and parts of West Virginia and Kentucky. It was awesome to think about how something I worked on would be seen in Cambridge. I could do work that would mean something to people. It was the best decision I ever made.”

When Shields worked at WOUB, he did a little bit of everything. Shields shot video, produced news and sports programs, and worked on the technical side of getting productions on the air.

“We worked on figuring out how to do a Gridiron Glory live remote and leveraged the Ohio University Microwave system to do remotes from Zanesville. I thought about that when I was thinking about ways to set up remote work during this pandemic,” said Shields. “I don’t think I recognized it at the time but the amount of flexibility I was allowed taught me so much more than I was signing up for.”

Shields operating camera on NYC street
Shields in New York City to cover the Republican National Convention (RNC) for WOUB in 2004

In August 2004, Shields went to Boston, Massachusetts to cover the Democratic National Convention (DNC) and to New York City to cover the Republican National Convention (RNC) for WOUB. Those experiences taught him more than he bargained for. In New York City, people protesting at the RNC clashed with police outside Madison Square Garden, and the New York Police Department ended up arresting hundreds.

“As our news team at WCPO is covering protests today, I refer back to that convention,” said Shields. “I was nearly arrested in New York City. I dealt with confrontations with police and learned how to handle covering that. And what’s amazing is I did it as a student working for WOUB.”

After Shields graduated, he started his career in roles as a producer, photojournalist and multimedia journalist in Charleston/Huntington, West Virginia and Cincinnati, Ohio. Then, he was hired as the news operations manager at WAVE in Louisville, Kentucky, a position Shields had been working toward for a long time.

“When I was at WOUB, a couple of alumni stopped by one night and gave us feedback on the latest Newswatch program,” said Shields. “One of them was a news operations manager, and he told me about his job. I didn’t even know that was a thing but from then on, I knew I would like to do that someday.”

Shields worked as news operations manager at a station in Cincinnati as well before briefly leaving the broadcasting industry. He returned in 2018 when he accepted his current role at WCPO. WCPO is owned by Scripps Broadcasting, and Shields is one of the youngest directors of engineering working for the company.

“There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t think of something I learned at Ohio University and WOUB and apply it to what I do today. People were willing to take a chance and let me make mistakes to learn and grow,” said Shields. “What makes me dangerous in what I do today is the diversity of my experience and that wouldn’t have happened without WOUB.”