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Nat Rosen calls the WOUB experience “unparalleled”

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Rosen graduated from Ohio University in 1978

ATHENS, OH – Nat Rosen ’78 says it’s a long way from the Radio and Television Building at Ohio University to Madison Avenue in New York City. But he believes he was able to make it there because of the lessons he learned and experiences he had working at WOUB-TV.

“I grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota,” said Rosen. “I knew I wanted to get into media, and in those days, you didn’t go and visit colleges. You just went to a school that had the major you wanted. I picked a university in Denver and went there sight unseen. It ended up not being the right place for me.”

During spring break of his freshman year, Rosen went to Columbus and visited Ohio State and then traveled to Athens to visit Ohio University.

“When I came to Athens, I went to the Radio and TV Building, I toured master control and the TV studio,” said Rosen. “I learned you could start working at WOUB as an underclassman. I was in heaven.  I knew immediately that was where I wanted to be.”

Rosen worked at WOUB from the moment he got on campus. He was interested in the production and management side of television. The communication major worked on NewsWatch and other WOUB programs like Lock, Stock, and Barrel and Hocking Valley Bluegrass.

After graduation, Rosen went west. It wasn’t easy to get started in Hollywood but having worked at a professional TV broadcast facility like WOUB and learning every production role from stage manager to director gave him a leg up.  Rosen got a job as a ‘runner’ (delivering scripts for awards shows) and kept working his way up the production ladder.

“I was making $100 a week driving around Los Angeles in my 1974 Chevy Vega and loving every minute of it,” said Rosen. “At the end of each freelance job, we’d exchange cards, and I started building up a network of contacts. One job led to another and another until I ended up with a full-time staff position working on a series of clip-show documentaries hosted by Dick Cavett for HBO.”

After five years, Rosen and his wife (Angie Merola Rosen, BA’79) decided to head back east to her home state of New Jersey and start a family.

“LA was where the TV/film production work was done, and NYC was where the advertising production work was headquartered. So I figured I would use my Ohio University and LA production experience to transition into advertising,” said Rosen. “The skills were translatable, the timing was right for my life, and commercials are just like short movies or TV shows – so it all seemed logical.”

Rosen first got a job working on Sesame Street and at the Children’s Television Workshop. After about three years, he met someone who worked at the J. Walter Thompson Advertising Agency and started transitioning to the advertising world.

“It took a little bit of fast talking and a little bit of fast learning, but at the core, the challenges were the same: crafting a story, working with a widely-diverse group of clients and creative talent, and getting the execution done – on time, on target and on budget,” said Rosen. “Working at WOUB for three years on a live nightly newscast like NewsWatch taught me an invaluable sense of urgency, thinking on my feet, and the realization that it has to be ready to go on time. People are counting on you!”

For the last 15+ years, Rosen has been focusing primarily on pharmaceutical advertising with an increasing specialty on oncology therapies. He is a pharmaceutical advertising client services executive. As a cancer survivor himself, the work is both professionally challenging and personally gratifying.

“It may sound trite, but I really am making a difference in peoples’ lives.  And to this very day, the lessons that I learned and the work that I did at WOUB and Ohio University are an important part of my skill set. The opportunity that WOUB presented is unparalleled. That opportunity and experience shaped my career.”