Former WOUB student creates a fund to support student wages at WOUB

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Neil Mahrer graduated from Ohio University in 1965

ATHENS, OH – A former PBS executive, with roots at Ohio University and WOUB, is supporting the current student experience by creating a fund to support student staff at WOUB.  Neil Mahrer worked at WOUB while he was a student to hone his broadcasting skills and learn about the media industry. The recently created NEIL MAHRER AND SONIA FRANCESKI WOUB STUDENT STAFF SUPPORT FUND will provide year-round support, in the form of wages and benefits, for students employed by WOUB Public Media.

“Neil understands the importance of the media professional development and training that WOUB provides to students. He also understands that the more time students spend at WOUB, the stronger skills they will have to take into the workforce and build successful media careers,” said WOUB General Manager Mark Brewer. “But many students can’t afford to volunteer their time at WOUB because they need paying jobs to make it through college. That’s why this fund to support student wages at WOUB is so important.”

Mahrer graduated in 1965 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts focused on general speech, TV/Radio and Theatre. He had a very successful career after leaving Athens, serving as executive vice president and chief operating officer at PBS during his 17-year tenure with the organization. Mahrer has also held positions at some of the nation’s premier PBS stations, including WETA, WQED, WVIZ, WMHT, WJCT and WBAA. Both Mahrer and Franceski believe in the value of public broadcasting, today and in the future.

“Somewhere in the mix of all of this media, and now all of this social media, somebody has to devote some portion of the resources, some portion of the time, to a non-commercial public service purpose,” said Mahrer when he established the fund. “Somebody has to be thinking, how do you use all of this media as a public good? As a public service first, not second.”

“Since Mahrer has a public media background, he understands the value of the quality journalism public media provides and how important it is that future media professionals learn to serve their communities with factual news and information,” said Brewer. “The Student Staff Support Fund ensures student access to hands-on learning opportunities at a public media station.”

The fund was established with $10,000. However, additional contributions may be made by Mahrer and Franceski in the future or by any other donor who would like to support tomorrow’s media professionals today.

“It’s typical for more than 100 students to participate with WOUB in any given calendar year. Our hope is to build on this generous lead gift that created the fund from other like-minded donors who share a similar passion for the students at WOUB,” said Brewer.