Wayne Hepler Headshot

WOUB Experience Inspires Grad to Pay it Forward

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Wayne Hepler graduated from Ohio University in 1980 and 1989

ATHENS, OH – In many ways, Wayne Hepler’s life has come full circle.  As a mass communication professor in Maryland, Hepler mentors students who are training live on the air at the college radio station.

“I provide feedback to students, and that’s the kind of thing I got at WOUB,” said Hepler. “For me to be able to work at WOUB as a student, learn from the professional staff and grow as a broadcaster was so important to me. Knowing that I’m helping do that for someone else, and making that a lifetime memory for them is really gratifying.”

Hepler is a two-time graduate of Ohio University.  He got his bachelor’s degree in 1980 and his master’s degree in 1989. The Wilmington, Delaware native wasn’t sure he wanted to go far from home for college, but his college research and career interests kept pointing him to Athens.

“I visited Ohio University on a trip with my dad and really liked the place. I visited WOUB and saw the opportunities to practice and learn,” said Hepler. “After the visit, I was praying about my decision, and I heard a small voice say, ‘Go to Ohio.’ And that was it, I knew I was going to Ohio.”

Hepler started working at WOUB as soon as he got on campus. He was an AM and FM disc jockey, as well as a radio and television sports reporter.

“I did everything I could at WOUB,” said Hepler. “It was pretty stunning how perfectly prepared I was for everything that came my way. I really felt there was nothing anyone needed to train me to do in my professional career.”

In the winter of his senior year, Hepler anchored the sports segment of WOUB TV’s Newswatch. When the program finished, he came down to the newsroom to learn that he got a phone call while he was on the air.

“When I got back down to the newsroom and returned the call,” said Hepler. “It was the news director from WOMP 100.5, a radio station in Wheeling, West Virginia. He saw me on Newswatch and called to offer me a job doing a sports talk show and anchoring morning news. I accepted and worked there for about a year and half.”

After working at the radio station, Hepler got into advertising and then later returned to Ohio University for his master’s degree.

“When I walked into WOUB after eight years away, I remember feeling as if I’d never left the air,” said Hepler. “I was chosen as the local host for Morning Edition and did some sports reporting on radio and TV before I graduated to become a professor.”

Hepler works now as a professor at Harford Community College in Bel Air, Maryland. He hosts a talk show on the college’s FM radio station and teaches audio, video and film.

“I learned at Ohio University and WOUB the value of both what you learned in the classroom and what you did outside of it. I learned something in the classroom and then could apply it practically at WOUB. As a professor, I have no use for people who are only going to teach out of a textbook,” said Hepler. “When I was looking at colleges, I knew I wanted to be able to practice what I was learning. Without a doubt, if I couldn’t have been practicing things at WOUB as a student, I would not have gone to Ohio University.”