VIDEO: From Architectural Designer to News Director

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Mike Redding’s career path wound through Athens and WOUB

ATHENS, OH – Nearly 30 years ago, News Center Maine Media News Director Mike Redding did architectural design work in Southern California for celebrities. While to some that may sound like a dream job, for Redding it was a nightmare.

“I realized that I hated my job,” said Redding. “I was 28 or 29 years old and just wanted to scrap everything and start over.”

Redding went back to college in California to study journalism. But then disaster struck. In January of 1994, a 6.7-magnitude Earthquake occurred. The epicenter was about a mile from the California State University, Northridge campus and destroyed numerous buildings. The tragedy left Redding without a place to attend class.  That’s when he started to explore his options.

“I wanted to find a school where communications and journalism were a big thing,” said Redding. “I heard about the program at Ohio University, as well as Northwestern and Syracuse. When I visited Athens and walked on the green at Ohio University, I got teary-eyed. Something hit me. I knew this was it. At the time I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do print or broadcast and was told that I could explore both at Ohio University. Everyone was so kind and genuine, and the campus so peaceful.”

Redding went back to Los Angeles and immediately quit his job. He packed up and moved to Athens. For Redding, who grew up in Boardman, Ohio near Youngstown, moving to Athens was kind of like coming home.

“I worked at The Post and did radio reporting for WOUB.” said Redding. “You had to do everything, and I was horrible at just about everything. I had to learn. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that broadcast was the direction I wanted to go in. I discovered that I had a passion for storytelling that included video and sound.”

Redding graduated in the spring of 1996. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to be a producer or a reporter. So, he took a job that let him do both. Redding was hired as a weekend producer/ weekday reporter in Springfield, Missouri. Eventually, Redding realized that he wanted to be a reporter full time. After about 18 months, he was hired as a reporter in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“I was in Charlotte for about 11 years. I loved what I did and realized there was something different about my reporting. I told stories in a way that made people feel the story, which set my reporting apart. I wanted those who watched to understand the story on a level that made them never forget it.”

Redding won 28 Emmy awards, as well as two national Edward R. Murrow Awards and 15 regional Edward R. Murrow Awards during his time in Charlotte. But, he was ready to challenge himself by moving into news management. Redding moved up the ranks at positions in Roanoke, Virginia and Greensboro, North Carolina. Then he landed a news director position in Portland, Maine. Redding moved on to news director roles in Austin, Texas and Washington D.C. before finally returning to Portland in 2019.

“I have had an amazing career,” said Redding. “When I look back on my time at Ohio University, I’m thankful. I got something from all the professors, The Post and WOUB. All of them had a piece for me.”