Mike Elliot Headshot

After Following in His Father’s Footsteps Former Student Creates His Own Path

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Mike Elliot graduated from Ohio University in 1976

ATHENS, OH – When Mike Elliot came to Athens from Connecticut in the early 1970s, he was excited to be attending a school with such a great reputation in radio and television. That’s because he knew he had some very large shoes to fill.

“My father was Win Elliot, a pretty well-known east coast sportscaster,” said Elliot. “He was the voice of the New York Rangers hockey team for nearly 20 years. He anchored World Series and Super Bowl pre and postgame shows, covered boxing and horse racing, and was host of radio call-in shows. He also reported for Sports Central USA on the CBS Radio Network as well as hosting early television game shows like Tic-Tac-Dough and On Your Account and Make that Spare.

Elliot knew the importance of the hands-on training he could get working at WOUB and got involved quickly.

“I was working 40 hours a week at the RTV center doing everything under the sun,” said Elliot. “In addition to getting on-air work, we were the writers. We were the production assistants. We were the jingle makers. It was a very special opportunity for someone who was interested in working in the radio/television industry.”

Elliot on NewsWatch set
WOUB “NewsWatch” set circa 1975. Sportscaster Mike Elliot on the left with Newscaster Steve Schwartz on the right.

“I and my classmates had great mentors. We had professional staff members like Professor Archie Greer, News Director John Chalfant, Assistant News Director Bruce Cuthbertson and WOUB Director Ted Jacobson. There were also fellow students including Ken Broo, Bruce Johnson, Mike Rausch, Michael Neff, Carol Ford, Ted Schwalbe, Larry Katz, Chuck Swirsky and many more. They were very talented people that contributed to an inspiring college experience.”

After graduation in 1976, Elliot got his first job at WIBW in Topeka, Kansas. He was a sportscaster for both radio and television and covered the Kansas City Royals.

“Just like at WOUB, I did everything there,” said Elliot. “WOUB prepared me to be able to take on the many roles and opportunities available there to learn and grow.”

Elliot spent three years in Kansas City before heading back home, accepting a job in New Haven, Connecticut.

“I always wanted to get back home. The position was a weekend sportscaster job. But the really funny part is who else applied for the job that I ended up beating out,” said Elliot laughing. “It was this guy you may know named Chris Berman.” Berman went on to great success at ESPN.

Elliot won two Emmy awards while in Connecticut. He was then offered a job in Louisville, Kentucky.

“I was named Kentucky Sportscaster of the Year while I was in Louisville,” said Elliot. “But I got burned out really quickly, and I didn’t like being so far away from home. One day I woke up in the hospital with spinal meningitis. I was exhausted, and I realized I needed to change my life. I thought my dad would be disappointed, but he had no issues with it. He was very supportive.”

That’s when Mike co-founded CustomVault. The company manages the installation/expansion of vaults for every major U.S. pharmaceutical manufacturer and distributor housing Schedule I and II controlled substances.

“I know it seems like a dramatic left turn from broadcasting,” said Elliot. “But Ohio University and WOUB laid the groundwork. I learned what I needed to know about being a good salesman while in the Radio and Television Building. You just don’t go on the air and start winging it. Everything you do in RTV is preparation and performance, everything you do in sales is preparation and performance. You can’t fake passion or being genuine.”

Elliot calls WOUB the foundation of his life.

“Four years of college prepare you for what you do with your career and any opportunities that come up during the rest of your life,” said Elliot. “Getting the first job is scary and full of pressure. That’s why current students need to breathe in everything WOUB has to offer, it will prepare you to be successful in whatever life offers.”