Prof. Dough Smith teaches his longtime passion

“Growing up I’ve always loved listening to radio as a young kid and since then my fascination with it grew,” said Professor Doug Smith, from Grantham, N.H.

He added “I had a piano teacher that actually worked in a radio station and I would spend most of my piano lesson actually talking to her about radio and I just found it to be very interesting.”

Most people know all about WNUB, the radio station on campus, but most people don’t know the person behind the station. Professor Doug Smith, who has been making the trek from New Hampshire to Northfield since 1999, runs WNUB from top to bottom as well as teaches communications courses on campus.

“When I was younger I use to mess around with short wave radios, crystal radios and always loved listening to music so that’s kind of where most of this started,” said Smith.

He was amazed at how radios work and his love for music only made his interest for radios much greater.

“I just listened to different stations all the time, I never actually wanted to be on the radio but I just thought radio was very cool.”

His radio career officially began while attending Lyndon State College for meteorology on a 10-watt radio station. The station was manned by students as a club, and Smith explained that he was introduced to the group through a friend.

“I had to take an FCC (Federal Communications Commission) test to be licensed to go air so after I passed that, I had my own radio show that semester and worked my way up the ladder in the club,” said Smith.

The promotions came quickly over the following years: he served as the stations operation manager as a sophomore, followed by general manager as a senior. But despite all the time vested in airwaves, Smith took a different direction out of college.

“Most of my radio experience really started in college but believe it or not, my first job out of college was with television. After college, I was involved with television in White River Junction at the NBC affiliate for a master control job.”  The same friend that introduced him to Lyndon’s station landed him the interview at White River Junction, and Smith was on the job at six in the morning the day after graduation.

“Being a master control technician was a low-level, low-paying job but a very technical position. You had to be totally reliable because you were pretty much the only person there until midnight when you had to turn the station off,” said Smith.

Smith worked his way up the ladder through that station over the three years he was there.  “I held five or six titles over three years and my pay doubled.  The money was like $5 an hour when I started and it pretty much doubled by the time I left.”

The next step was a posting as the operations manager for a CBS affiliate company in Portland, Maine.

“I went on to become the operations manager for the CBS affiliate in Portland, Maine, for three years until I got tired and decided to move out of that position,” said Smith.

After many years of employment in the broadcasting field, Professor Smith decided to pursue a different career field. He went back to college to earn his Master’s degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

“After earning my Master’s degree I wanted to share my knowledge of radio and television with up and coming students,” said Smith. “I understood the business and thought it would be fun to share that information with students that were interested in the same thing as I was.”

And so began his time here at Norwich after he noticed an advertisement seeking an individual to instruct a communications course and to run the college radio station. Professor Smith said, “I applied, was interviewed, and then hired a few days later.  Here I am almost 18 years later.”

When it comes to running the station on campus, there is a lot of upkeep and maintenance needed to have it run in top shape, and it is run entirely by Smith and the students taking his class, unlike his experience with WWLR at Lyndon State.

“I make sure the students are on the air both semesters doing various things such as voice tracking during the daytime and how to be on the air for their live shows in the evening,” said Smith.

“With the help from IT here at the school, I have been able to make so many different improvements to the station and on air computer that I can pretty much control the station remotely from my laptop.”

The station has been recently upgraded with the most up-to-date radio equipment available. “When I first came here in 1999, the station was completely run by students for the better part of two years and the up-keep of the equipment wasn’t being done or the station was off-air most of the time and I just didn’t like that so I took over,” said Smith.

“I convinced my supervisor at the time for more funding for the studio and was able to upgrade the entire studio with a new soundboard and whole new computer to run the station more smoothly,” said Smith.

His popularity with his students is easy to recognize.

“Professor Smith is a great professor. I have learned a ton from him these past two semesters,” said Kellie Lincoln, 20, junior, a communications major, from Plymouth, N.H.

“When I first started his class, I was scared at first about going on air live, but Professor Smith showed me to be more comfortable on-air and just how to speak normally on air with different skills and techniques,” said Lincoln.

“Professor Smith is not your normal death-by-PowerPoint professor,” added Christian Torchon, 22, a sophomore communications major from Los Angles, Calif. “He is very hands-on learning style, which I like very much.”

“We’re taking all his knowledge and experience, putting it all together into our shows, and then running the studio for him top to bottom without making mistakes,” said Torchon.

 

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