Erin Dodson Headshot

Former WOUB Student Working on Production of New PBS KIDS Series “Donkey Hodie”

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Erin Dodson graduated in 2005

ATHENS, OH – Erin Dodson’s career has come full circle. The Pittsburgh native worked on educational productions at WOUB Public Media while she was an Ohio University student, and now she’s returned home to Pennsylvania as a post-production manager at Fred Rogers Productions where she’s overseeing post-production on two new programs for PBS KIDS and all the Fred Rogers Productions’ series.

“It feels so good doing educational programming again,” said Dodson. “I’m taking all of the experience I have gotten during my career and bringing it home and getting to do something educational at such a wonderful company.”

Dodson knew since the age of 14 that she wanted to pursue a career in television.

“In high school, I did the morning announcements on television,” said Dodson. “I loved how with television you could broadcast information to the community and work as team to make it happen. I liked making a plan and executing that plan.”

In 2001, Dodson decided to study telecommunications at Ohio University after hearing about the strength of the school’s communications program. She got involved working for WOUB pretty quickly.

“I volunteered to work on Athens Video Works productions like Fridays Live and Athens Midday as a production assistant,” said Dodson. “I learned about the high-pressure environment of live TV.”

Through that experience she met many of the professional staff members at WOUB and other opportunities presented themselves.

“I was in the Radio and Television Building all the time and got to know everybody. When I was a senior, WOUB got a grant to create a series call What’s the Problem? In 2005, right after I graduated, WOUB hired me to produce and manage a group of students to produce the series.”

What's the problem logo graphicWhat’s the Problem? is an intervention resource designed to help high school students prepare for the Ohio Graduation Test in Mathematics. The online interactive program parodied eight popular television network reality shows and highlighted the common mathematical mistakes that students made on the tests.

“We worked with school advisors on how to develop the series in a way that showed students how to do the math problems visually. The advisors helped us figure out how to translate the problems from paper and pencil to video.”

After her stint at WOUB, Dodson worked mostly at prominent marketing agencies over a 15-year period spent in Los Angeles. She also served as director of post-production at Bond where she was responsible for communicating technical requirements, executing deliverables and more for clients including Netflix, HBO, Warner Brothers, and other notable media entities; and as director of post-production at Trailer Park Group where she oversaw quality control and delivery for TV and digital spots, commercial campaigns, behind-the-scenes documentaries, branded content, and more in addition to managing the day-to-day operations for the finishing team.

Now, in her role at Pittsburgh-based Fred Rogers Productions, Dodson is working on two new programs that will air as part of the PBS KIDS lineup. The first is a series called Donkey Hodie, which will premiere May 3. The puppet series is for children ages 3-5 and follows the adventures of Donkey Hodie, the granddaughter of the original Donkey Hodie character from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The second series is called Alma’s Way, and it is scheduled to premiere in the fall of 2021. The series was created by actor and writer, Sonia Manzano, who positively impacted the lives of generations as “Maria” on Sesame Street, breaking new ground as one of the first Latino characters on national television. Alma’s Way gives children ages 4-6 the power to find their own answers to their problems, express what they think and feel, and recognize and respect the unique perspective of others.

“My role as post-production manager is to help coordinate all of the deliverables and make sure all partners have everything they need,” said Dodson. “I’m really thankful for all of the real-life experience that WOUB offered me when I was a student. Learning both how to do a job in a high-pressure environment and how to work as a team has been immensely helpful to me in my career.”