Alan Leventhal’s Hollywood production career started as a stage manager at WOUB< < Back to
Leventhal graduated from Ohio University in 1982
ATHENS, OH – Alan Leventhal knew he wanted to work in television since he was in high school in Union Township, New Jersey.
“My high school had a federally funded TV program. I knew I wanted a career that didn’t involve sitting behind a desk, so I bugged my teacher until he let me into the program. When it was time for me to look at colleges, he told me about the excellent radio and TV program at Ohio University.”
Leventhal visited a number of different schools, but when he toured Ohio University, he knew he was home.
“Many of the colleges I looked at had inferior equipment to what I was using in high school,” said Leventhal. “That was not the case at Ohio University and WOUB.”
The radio and television major got involved at WOUB as soon as he possibly could.
“What I do well is bug people,” said Leventhal with a chuckle. “In the Fall of 1978, first quarter freshmen were not allowed to work at WOUB-TV. Despite that, I went to the orientation meeting, where I introduced myself to WOUB-TV Production Manager Bob Roehl and gave him my resume. Then, I continued to drop by Bob’s office — if not every week, then every two weeks. I pestered him until they let me start training as stage manager in January of 1979. After that I lived at WOUB. It was my life.”
Leventhal worked his way up from stage manager to graphics operator, to running camera and audio. Then, before he even graduated, all of the production experience he gained at WOUB helped him land a freelance job working for ABC Sports.
“I would hit the road each weekend with two other WOUB students, Bruce Dunn and Chip Stephenson,” said Leventhal. “We did whatever ABC Sports wanted us to. We did college football and two years on the bowling tour where we went city to city every week. It was a great experience, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the terrific training we got at WOUB.”
After graduation, Leventhal did freelance work in New York City and eventually moved out to Los Angeles. He has worked production roles in both the entertainment and sports industries.
“I was a production assistant for Full House, but I eventually realized that entertainment wasn’t my thing. I enjoyed doing sports,” said Leventhal. “I work mostly local LA team games. I’ve also done two Stanley Cup Finals and one World Series. I even had the opportunity to work the Olympic soccer tournament in Los Angeles in 1984. It’s been so much fun.”
Leventhal says when he started working in the industry, he had a leg up on others coming out of college.
“Getting hands on experience is very important. First, you gain these basic skills. Then, as you move up to different projects, the learning curve is easy because the principles aren’t any different. The situations may be more intense, but the applications are exactly the same,” said Leventhal. “WOUB has such a terrific training program, in part because of the people. The staff served as teachers and mentors. In addition to their responsibilities, they were always very willing to give us their time and their expertise. I consider them an important part of my own success, as well as that of many others. WOUB-TV gave us opportunities other schools didn’t offer their students. With all of that experience, our resumes looked extremely good. I would say our success rate in the business reflects the fantastic training we got at WOUB-TV.”