Inspiring the Next Generation: Staff Members Share Their Career Journeys
- Written by Belinda Elliott
- Category: Community
- Published: 19 May 2023
WHRV's Barry Graham, host of Pickin' & Acoustic Highway and André Jones, WHRO's multimedia marketing producer, were on-site for a recent career day at Richard Bowling Elementary in Norfolk, teaching students what a career path in public media looks like. Students visited with employers throughout the day learning what each person does in their chosen occupations.
For Graham, sharing his knowledge with students is nothing new. He worked as a teacher for 32 years. He has worked in radio even longer. He began as an overnight host at WHRO working part time while he was in graduate school at Old Dominion University. “I originally intended to only stay while I was in school, but I was soon hooked on public radio,” Graham recalled.
He even started an in-house radio station at the Virginia Beach school where he worked. One of his students at the time, Jordan Christie, is now a colleague at WHRO. “We worked together her first year here on a series about the Lake Gaston Pipeline and its history. It won a VAB Award for best radio documentary. I could not be more proud of her,” he said.
He sees his work in radio as an extension of the work he did as a teacher. “The aspect I love most about my job here is that I continue to learn and also to educate,” he explained. “I look at my position here much like when I was a teacher, helping to create a better understanding of issues, politics and opinions.”
To give students with an idea of what a typical day working in radio is like, Barry asked participants to provide a weather report for him and to report on their experience during career day.
His advice to students wanting to pursue a career in radio is for them to gain as much experience as possible. “Get involved early in the field,” Graham said, "in college radio, in public speaking classes, in journalism classes. Write for the school newspaper. Do internships, summer camps—anything in the field. I started in college radio when I was a freshman, at age 19, and by the time I was a senior, I was the station’s program director and was able to use that experience to segue into my work here."
Jones has been with WHRO for nearly 10 years. He worked for the station part time for seven years, and in December he will mark his 3-year anniversary of being with the station full time. “I’ve always loved being behind the camera telling stories and making videos even when I was younger, so it was a natural transition from making a hobby into a career,” he said.
At the career day, he showed students a video promo that he produced and demonstrated for them how to use a DSLR camera.
“My specific advice for students that want to get into the field of marketing and producing is to stay on top of the newest technologies and never stop learning,“ Jones said. ”Even better advice is to pursue what you are passionate about, and hard work will make your dreams achievable.“
Following his passion is what led him to the career that he enjoys. “I love that I'm given the creative freedoms to express myself on amazing local and national projects,” he said, “and I love working with a team of talented individuals.”
WHRO Public Media is owned by 21 school divisions including Norfolk Public Schools. Learn more about the educational resources we offer for students and teachers.