Randall Winston Headshot

He may be executive producing a show called “Shrinking,” but Randall Winston’s career is far from it

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Winston graduated with a telecommunications degree from Ohio University in 1989

ATHENS, OH – If you’ve recently watched the first season of the series Shrinking on Apple TV, you’ve experienced the work of former WOUB student Randall Winston. The series, which stars Jason Segel and Harrison Ford, is about a grieving therapist who starts to tell his clients exactly what he thinks. Ignoring his education and training, the therapist finds himself making huge changes to people’s lives, including his own. Winston is an executive producer on the series and says he wouldn’t have had the confidence to pursue his dream career, producing shows like Shrinking, without WOUB Public Media.

“It (WOUB) gave me more confidence when I stepped out in the world to know that I had worked at a professional outfit while I was in college,” said Winston. “We did things the way professionals were doing it all across the country in the television industry and that made me feel that I could stand toe to toe with anybody.”

Winston grew up in Michigan, but moved to Ohio when he was in high school. When asked why he decided to attend Ohio University for college, Winston said he didn’t pick Ohio University, Ohio University picked him.

“I kind of thought I was headed to Michigan State. I knew I wanted to go to a school with a strong communications program,” said Winston. “My mom told me about Ohio University, and we went for a tour. I was way more enchanted by Ohio University then I had expected to be, and I appreciated the immediate sense of community that was available.”

During that tour, Winston learned about the hands-on professional media experience students could gain at WOUB.

“Having access to WOUB was very intriguing, desirable, and exciting to me. You could start working there right away. There were no barriers to entry, and I loved the idea of gaining some real-world experience.”

Winston started working at WOUB as soon as he arrived on campus. He also volunteered his time at ACRN, the campus radio station.

“I was very aggressive as a freshman,” said Winston with a laugh. “I just wanted to figure out how to do as much as I could do.”

It didn’t take Winston long to connect with other students, like Brian Unger ’87, and professional staff members at WOUB and that opened doors to new opportunities.

“I remember Brian introducing me to WOUB FM Host Jan Sole and showing me the radio booth. Jan was very generous with her time and guidance,” said Winston. “I also met and worked for WOUB TV Producer Keith Newman, which was absolutely amazing.”

Winston worked on the production side of WOUB TV’s nightly half-hour news program, NewsWatch, and said the experience was invaluable.

NewsWatch was sort of the gold standard. It was a nightly program at a professional operation that students were running,” said Winston. “The pressure of getting the news on the air was real and fixing your mistakes, which you were sure to make, in real time was something that had to happen.”

Because WOUB wasn’t just a college TV station but was a PBS member station that served people throughout southeast Ohio and western West Virginia, Winston said the responsibility to do things right was something he and his fellow students took very seriously.

“We were trusted with many important tasks to keep the station on the air. I helped out in master control, and I remember one terrifying shift,” said Winston chuckling. “It was the morning after Halloween, and I was so tired. I was so afraid I was going to sleep through a break.”

Winston leveraged what he learned at WOUB to secure summer TV internships where he discovered that the kind of experience he was getting in college was unique.

“The stations gave me a long leash because of the experience I had.”

One of those internships was in Los Angeles at Ubu Productions. Ubu’s notable productions include Family Ties, Brooklyn Bridge and Spin City. After graduation, Winston picked up and moved back to LA to pursue a career in entertainment television. He was hired as a production assistant (PA) at Ubu.

“One of the many things I did as a PA at Ubu was learn how to make the perfect cup of coffee,” said Winston laughing. “But I also showed them what I could do and made important connections which opened up new opportunities.”

In addition to Shrinking, Winston’s TV credits include work as a producer, executive producer and director on programs like Brooklyn Bridge and Spin City, as well as Scrubs, Cougar Town, Grace and Frankie and Mixed-ish. Winston said starting during his time at Ohio University and WOUB, he learned that it’s important connect and network with people who aspire to do the same thing you do and learn and grow together.

“One of the things about this business is that it’s constant growth and motion,” said Winston. “A rising tide raises all boats. Every time a job ends everybody has to go someplace, and you tend to go with the good people with whom you have built strong working relationships.”

And from every job comes new experiences and skills. Winston said the foundation that he builds upon to develop new skills began at WOUB.

“I had and still have plenty to learn, but at the outset, I was there to help make the shows happen at WOUB. I felt when I was in the world if somebody asked me to help realize something, I had already done it because it was asked and expected of me at WOUB.”