Sherwin Ritchie Headshot

Teamwork and Professionalism Learned at WOUB

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Sherwin Ritchie worked as a student engineer at WOUB in the late 1960s

ATHENS, OH – Sherwin Ritchie didn’t end up pursuing a career in broadcasting or communications but credits his career success to the teamwork and professionalism he learned working as a student at WOUB in the late 1960s.

“The experience I had at Ohio University and WOUB, I think it was the foundation of how I interacted and worked with people throughout my career,” said Ritchie.

Ritchie grew up in Hilliard, Ohio and chose Ohio University because he wanted to experience life on campus. When Ritchie came to Athens in the fall of 1967, he was an electrical engineering major. He learned that he could do broadcast engineering work by volunteering as a student at WOUB and fell in love.

“I really enjoyed working on the technical side of things at WOUB,” said Ritchie. “Ed Williams was the head of engineering at the time and talked me into getting a transmitter operator license. The first thing I did as a paid student at WOUB was babysit the FM transmitter down in the basement of the speech building.”

Ritchie says he was inspired by and learned from both the professional staff and other students at WOUB. He eventually switched his major to communications.

“I ended up where I am today and enjoyed WOUB as much as I did because of both the professional staff and students,” said Ritchie. “Fellow engineering students like John Luff were great mentors to me.”

When Ritchie started working at WOUB, the FM radio station was just 10 watts.

“That was about enough power to get the signal to the top of the speech building,” said Ritchie laughing. But during his time at the station, it increased to 50,000 watts.

Both the radio and television station provided Ritchie with many opportunities to do maintenance and repair work, which he enjoyed, as well as operational broadcast opportunities.

“In the spring of 1970 Kent State happened,” said Ritchie. “And I was one of the few kids allowed to stay on campus after the riots on campus because we were needed to help run the TV station.”

In August of 1971, due to state budget cuts, most of the student jobs at WOUB were eliminated.

“I had to quit school because I didn’t have a job,” said Ritchie. “A high school buddy was working at an engineering firm, and they were hiring. I applied and got the job. I ended up going back to Ohio University and finishing my degree several years later. I graduated in 1988 with a degree in communications.”

Ritchie worked as an electrical power system engineer and ended up retiring from the firm after 38 years. He worked on special facilities for large corporate data centers.

“I had to work regularly with owners to explore what they needed and wanted, and then we had to communicate that to the contractors so they could build it properly,” said Ritchie. “Working at WOUB really helped me in my work because everything we did at WOUB was part of a team. You can’t put on a broadcast program without being part of a team.”