WOUB and Ohio University: A Family Tradition for the Fockes

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Joe Focke started it all in 1969

ATHENS, OH – Joe Focke loves Ohio University and WOUB. And so does his family. A total of seven members of Focke’s family were proud Bobcats. Focke worked at WOUB and graduated from Ohio University in 1973 with a telecommunications degree, and his son followed in his footsteps.

Pat Focke operating a camera
Pat Focke

“My son, Pat Focke, graduated from Ohio University in 2012 after volunteering at WOUB and is now working at Red Bull Productions in Los Angeles,” said Joe Focke.

Focke, who retired in 2016 after 36 years as a feature reporter in Norfolk, Virginia and a 43-year career, came to Athens in 1969 from his hometown of Dayton. He knew he wanted to be involved in broadcasting, and because of the opportunities available at WOUB, Focke knew that Ohio University was the place he wanted to do it.

“I chose Ohio University because of WOUB,” said Focke. “I remember seeing a handbook from Ohio University with a picture of the WOUB TV studio on the front cover. You could volunteer at WOUB as a freshman and get your hands on the equipment. That’s what I wanted to do.”

Focke said the experience he got at WOUB meant everything to him. He stayed on campus over holiday breaks and summers to work at WOUB. He was a production assistant, floor director, camera operator and master control operator.

Joe Focke 1970s headshot
Joe Focke when he was a student working at WOUB

“I learned my way around in a studio and learned the industry language, so I could communicate with potential bosses when I graduated.”

Focke went on to work at several radio and television stations in Ohio and Virginia moving from production to on-air talent. He worked as a news, weather and sports anchor, as well as a reporter.

“I thought I would wind up on the production side of broadcasting originally, but something kept drawing me to on-air work. WOUB gave me a leg up to pursue my dreams,” said Focke. “And the experience at Ohio University and WOUB also gave my son  a leg up. My grandniece Carly is even a sophomore there now. The family tradition continues.”