Rick Rogala headshot

New WBNS president and general manager is “beyond grateful” for his experience at WOUB

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Rogala was a radio and television major and graduated from Ohio University in 1982

ATHENS, OH – Rick Rogala’s career has come full circle. The Chicago native was recently named president and general manager of WBNS 10TV in Columbus. Rogala decided to attend Ohio University in the late 1970s after his dad learned about the strong reputation of the school’s communication programs from a client in Columbus – the Wolfe Family who at the time owned WBNS.

“My dad was a business consultant,” said Rogala. “One of the members of the Wolfe family asked my dad what I was interested in studying in college. My dad told him that I wanted to go to college for radio and television. The member of the Wolfe family told my dad about Ohio University and said that they hired a lot of Ohio University graduates.”

Rogala and his dad came to Athens for a college visit and met with Archie Greer. Greer was the former station manager at WOUB and was a professor at Ohio University. He took the Rogalas on a tour of campus, which included a visit to the WOUB studios in the Radio and TV Building.

“I remember looking inside the radio studio and being mesmerized. I got to see the TV studios as well. Greer told me that I would get to work at WOUB during my first year on campus. Other schools didn’t allow this kind of hands-on practical experience until students were in their junior year. I knew this is where I wanted to go to school,” said Rogala. “We also went to a football game. I fell in love with the campus. I fell in love with the Marching 110. I was hooked.”

Rogala had worked at his high school radio station. So, he thought he wanted to be a radio disc jockey. He started working at WOUB and got experience on the radio, but also worked in TV and fundraising.

“I operated master control and helped secure underwriting for the station,” said Rogala. “That experience set a course for what happened when I got out of school. The theoretical side of what you learn in the classroom is really important, but the reality is that combining that with the practical experience in real-time is a game changer.”

Rogala was awarded an internship at Blair Television, a national sales representative firm, in New York City because of the underwriting experience that was on his resumé. At the end of the internship, he was offered an opportunity to start in Blair’s training program.

Before coming to WBNS, Rogala was president and general manager at WATN and WLMT in Memphis, Tennessee. In partnership with the Memphis leadership team, Rogala built the WATN/ABC24 brand and culture from the ground up, propelling the organization to the position of fastest-growing news source in Memphis. Under Rogala’s leadership, WATN received three Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards in three years, the most by a Memphis station in three years and the first for WATN/ABC24 in seven years.

Through his career, Rogala also held senior level media leadership roles including senior vice president at Nexstar Media Group, where he was responsible for direct operations oversight of 12 markets and the creation and implementation of companywide sales training and revenue initiatives. Earlier in his career, Rogala was general manager at television stations in six different markets.

“WOUB shaped my career because it got me immersed in what I love, and it gave me a chance to find out what it is that I really loved. WOUB fostered my passion. It gave me this breadth of experience that I can still call upon today,” said Rogala. “I learned about all aspects of the business. I learned the process of storytelling, content creation, understanding how traffic works, how underwriting works, and how all of it fits together. When I was getting into the industry, that hands-on experience I got at WOUB meant I had knowledge. I’m beyond grateful.”