Beau Boughamer headshot

Beau Boughamer’s passion for public media and helping others started at Ohio University and WOUB

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Boughamer graduated from Ohio University in 1999

ATHENS, OH – When Beau Boughamer came to Athens from Butler County, Pennsylvania in 1996, he was passionate about journalism and knew Ohio University was the place for him.

“I knew that I wanted to do news at age 12. We did a broadcast news workshop in one of my classes in 6th grade, and I was fascinated by it,” said Boughamer. “In 9th grade, I started really watching local news in Pittsburgh carefully. I wrote to a couple of local reporters asking for information and looking for a mentor. Lori Savitch at WPXI-TV responded and told me she went to Ohio University, so I added Ohio University to my list of prospective colleges.”

Because Boughamer was part of a broadcast program at his high school where he was able to do work in TV news and sports, he wanted to find a college where he could jump in right away and get hands-on experience. The other universities Boughamer considered wouldn’t let students get involved like that until their junior year.

“At Ohio University, I learned I could start working at WOUB right away,” said Boughamer. “With that information and the beauty of the campus, I mean I was sold the moment the car turned the bend. As soon as I saw the campus, I was sold.”

Boughamer took advantage of every opportunity at WOUB. He got involved in both radio and TV news. He worked behind the scenes and in front of the microphone.

“I started with the technical production crew first,” said Boughamer. “I was running audio and teleprompter and was just present in the control room. I also reported, anchored and produced. I was the producer of NewsWatch the night of the Columbine High School shooting. It was real life experience in dealing with breaking news.”

During his time at WOUB, Boughamer developed a love and appreciation for public media and the important role it plays in distributing factual, accurate news and information. He credits that to WOUB’s assistant news director at the time, Fred Kight.

“I learned more from him than anyone else, and I think he is more responsible than anyone else for ensuring that WOUB was a journalism-first shop, not simply a place to get yourself on TV or radio, during the time that I was there.”

After graduation in 1999, Boughamer got a job as a host at a news/talk radio station in Jackson, Michigan. But it wasn’t long until he landed a job as a reporter at WITF, a public radio station in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

“I covered the 2000 presidential election and the 9/11 terrorist attacks, including the crash of Flight 93 in Pennsylvania, while working in the state capital,” said Boughamer. “I eventually became WITF’s news director.”

After three years working in Harrisburg, Boughamer wanted to see what other opportunities were out there — and he missed Athens. He came back to southeast Ohio to run a friend’s campaign for state representative. When the campaign came to an end, Boughamer went back to Harrisburg to serve as the statehouse news bureau chief for all of Pennsylvania’s public media stations, a role he played until 2007.

In 2007, Boughamer was ready for a lifestyle change. He was getting married, planned to start a family and wanted to go in a different direction.

“I feel like at my heart I’m a writer. I like information and delivering information to people in ways they understand that might help them. So, I moved into public relations.”

Boughamer worked as a communication manager and director at various colleges and non-profits for the next several years before landing a job that brought together his love of public media with his passion for helping others.

“I started working at the Annie E. Casey Foundation as senior communications manager in 2017. It’s a large national philanthropy organization that happens to be based in Baltimore but does nationwide work and focuses on child and family well-being. All of this was very interesting to me and resonated with me on a personal level,” said Boughamer. “It’s also exciting that I manage the foundation’s relationship with NPR. The foundation supports some of the high-quality journalism produced by NPR, and it makes me happy to keep an eye on what public broadcasters are doing.”

And that takes Boughamer back to his roots at Ohio University and WOUB.

“I would not be the person I am today without having gone to Ohio University and working at WOUB. It offered me my first taste of real-world reporting. I learned about working on a team and achieving success as a group. You can’t put together a newscast on your own. I think having hands-on experience from the very beginning is of maximum importance,” said Boughamer. “We are now living in the ChatGPT era and being a journalist is going to involve new technology. I believe in Ohio University’s ability to train the next generation of good journalists to adapt to new technologies like AI because the sooner journalists learn about those things, and learn to harness their power, the better.”