Mike Rausch Headshot

Former News Director Mike Rausch credits WOUB with foundational experience

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Mike Rausch worked at WOUB from 1973-1976

ATHENS, OH – When Mike Rausch attended Ohio University and worked at WOUB Public Media in the early 1970s, he was a rarity.

“There were two sides of the Ohio University story for me. One was the journalism side and the other was the radio/television side,” said Rausch. “There weren’t many journalism majors who spent all of their time at the radio/TV station. Most of the professors in the journalism school were newspaper folks. But I wanted to be a TV reporter and saw the value of understanding the fundamentals of journalism and the technical side of broadcasting.”

Rausch grew up in Napoleon, Ohio, which is located southwest of Toledo. He was the yearbook photographer at his high school and became interested in studying media and journalism.

“When I got to Ohio University and started taking journalism classes, I found them to be really excellent,” said Rausch. “Dru Evarts taught grammar and language. To me she was the most memorable professor at Ohio University. She was the greatest. She taught me more than anyone else about discipline and getting things right. We didn’t have spell check back in those days, and I misspelled several words in a story. She told me, ‘Mike, I don’t think you’re going to make it journalism.’ It was the best thing I could have heard from anyone. It was a wake-up call. I knew I needed to up my game.”

While continuing to polish his writing skills, Rausch found another way to up his game – WOUB.

“I started reporting for radio and then eventually anchored NewsWatch,” said Rausch. “I stayed over the summers to work at WOUB. It provided me with a life-changing experience. That base of knowledge came from the unique opportunities Ohio University provided along with hands on newsroom training from the WOUB news professionals at the time – John Chalfant and Bruce Cuthbertson.”

Rausch left Athens six credits short of completing his degree to pursue job opportunities in broadcasting.

“I was hired as a reporter at WANE TV in Fort Wayne, Indiana,” said Rausch. “It was the greatest first job. The news team was exceptional, and it was a tremendous opportunity to be the big fish in a small pond.  My education at Ohio University and training at WOUB enabled me to excel as a reporter, no question.”

After Fort Wayne, Rausch was a reporter in Nashville, Tennessee. He eventually moved into a producing role which led to news management positions across the country; Rochester, NY, Louisville, KY, Portland, OR (two stations), Orlando, FL, San Francisco, CA (Internet Startup), Mobile, AL and Colorado Springs, CO.

Rausch became a successful news director where he helped his news teams garner substantial ratings and awards while also pioneering technical advances in weather coverage, digital mapping, computer systems, digital editing and internet platforms.

Redefining the use of TV news helicopters in daily news coverage was a passion. At KGW-TV in Portland, Rausch was first in the country to put a gyro stabilized infrared camera on a news helicopter. Then his station was first in the world to ‘buy and fly’ the powerful Bell 407, a civil utility helicopter. In his words, “There was no better equipped news helicopter on the planet.”

“In the early 90’s, I came back to visit Ohio University and spent two days talking to students,” said Rausch. “There was a luncheon at the journalism school, and Dru Evarts was there. I sat next to her, and I was surprised she remembered me. She said, ‘You seem to be doing pretty well.’ That was awesome to hear from someone who made such an impact on me.”

Rausch left television news in 2019 just a few weeks after his TV news operation won the prestigious National Edward R. Murrow Journalism Award for ‘Overall Excellence’. He’s still connected to the world of media developing web projects focused on reinventing travel journalism.

“The core of who I was came from WOUB and Ohio University,” said Rausch. “The skills I learned there I used every single day during my career in journalism. WOUB is an opportunity for students to build an incredible foundation.”

“Bottom line, the success I had leading news operations to high levels of success across the country would not have been possible without Ohio University, my time at WOUB and of course Dru Evarts!”