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“WOUB Mentoring Program” continues to be helpful to students and alumni

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The program started in January 2021

ATHENS, OH – Steve Kurrent says he’s not sure who got more out of the WOUB Mentoring Program during the 2022-23 academic year, him or the student he mentored. Kurrent graduated from Ohio University in 1983 with a degree in radio and television. He recently retired after 32 years as a producer/director at WEWS TV in Cleveland and decided to start giving of his time by mentoring current students at WOUB.

For me as a student at Ohio University, one of the best parts of the experience was working at WOUB. I was able to gain hands-on, practical training while in school, working in all areas of broadcasting.  This experience got me started after graduation, with a job at WBNS TV in Columbus. While there, I used my WOUB training to rise through the ranks to become a director. And after working in St. Louis and Cleveland, I had a successful career as a newscast director.”

WOUB launched the WOUB Mentoring Program in January of 2021 which pairs current junior and senior students working at the station with former WOUB students who have already used the skills they learned while working at WOUB to launch successful careers. Where possible, the current students are paired with mentors who have already worked in media positions the students are interested in pursuing. There were 22 mentoring pairs during the 2022-23 academic year. Kurrent was paired with Ohio University Senior Matthew Gebhart.

“Matthew and I would meet via Zoom once a month to discuss all things directing,” said Kurrent. “I shared with Matthew the philosophy of directing and gave him advice as needed. Matthew had just started directing NewsWatch on WOUB TV and was eager to learn how to become a better director. During our meetings, we would talk about television and what it’s like in the ‘real world.’ But the funny thing about WOUB, the equipment used to produce NewsWatch is not some hand-me-down station reject, but equipment that is being used right now at stations all across the country producing news.”

“My time with the WOUB Mentoring Program was invaluable,” said Gebhart. “I got to talk to someone who was in my field of interest and ask them questions as well as talk about my time at WOUB with them and how my experience at WOUB would apply to outside of the school environment. It really was also nice to talk to someone who has been in my shoes before and get my thoughts out to them.”

“I’m so glad the mentoring program is continuing to be valuable for students and alumni. Once you work at WOUB as a student, you are part of a family,” said WOUB Community Engagement and Membership Manager Cheri Russo. “Networking and connections are crucial in getting a job and moving up in the media industry. And making it possible for current students to learn from and connect with former students, who have so much valuable experience and advice to give, makes so much sense.”

Gebhart graduated in May and started working as a technical media producer at WAVE 3 TV in Louisville, Kentucky.

“I’m proud to say that Matthew landed a job as a newscast director before he graduated from Ohio University,” said Kurrent. “Not sure how much our mentoring experience helped him in getting that job, but I know for certain that as Matthew begins his career, thanks to the practical experience gained at WOUB, he has all the tools needed for success.”