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WMUL celebrates 50th anniversary; faculty manager honored

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – More than 100 people gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of WMUL-FM, Marshall University’s public radio station, Saturday, July 16, at the MU Foundation Hall, home of the Erickson Alumni Center, on Marshall’s Huntington campus.

Several people, some of whom worked for WMUL-FM in the station’s early years, shared stories of their experiences at the station. Also, a 15-minute video highlighting the history of WMUL-FM – West Virginia’s first public radio station – was played. The video included an update on the technology installed at the radio station over the years.

“I think everyone had a great time seeing some of their former classmates from when they were here and sharing stories from their time at WMUL-FM,” said Krystle Davis, former promotions director for WMUL-FM and co-organizer of  the event. “We learned that although separated, in some instances by decades, our experiences were very similar and yet so different. We all left feeling proud at how successful the radio station has become, knowing we were a part of the building process.”

Speakers included:

·Michael J. Farrell, current Board of Governors member
·Dr. Corley Dennison, current dean of the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications
·Bob Edmunds, 1960s on-air announcer and board operator for the station’s live broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera
·Jerry Handley, 1970s on-air announcer, news reporter and board operator for the station’s live broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera
·Dr. H. Keith Spears, faculty manager of WMUL, late 1970s to mid 1980s
·Randy Lee, sportscaster in the 1980s
·Doug Birdsong, sports director and staff member in the 1980s
·Susan Curry Brun, student manager in the 1980s
·Kimberly Jefferson Cobb, student manager in the 1980s
·Chris Cobb, student manager in the 1980s
·Brad Williamson, student manager in the 1990s
·Todd McCormick, student manager in the 1990s
·Vince Payne, student manager in the 2000s
·Alex Reed, student manager in the 2000s
·Melanie Chapman, news director in the 2000s
·Adam Cavalier, student manager in the late 2000s to the early 2010s

Dr. Charles G. Bailey, professor of radio-television production and management in the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Marshall and faculty manager of WMUL-FM, was honored with a special presentation during the event.

Dr. Corley Dennison, dean of the School of Journalism, surprised Bailey with the announcement of the Dr. Charles G. Bailey Award, a scholarship created in his honor to be awarded to a student showing exemplary dedication to the radio station.

Davis led a fundraising drive in recent months in which $20,000 was raised for the scholarship through private donations. Board of Governors member Michael J. Farrell announced during Saturday’s event that he would add $5,000 to the award fund and asked that everyone in the room reach out to others to contribute.

Davis said the award was established “to recognize (Bailey’s) impact on our lives and his contribution to Marshall University and countless students.”

“Dr. Bailey opened doors for many of us as students, job seekers, and now in our professional lives,” Davis said. “We have many reasons to be thankful for his wisdom and his support.”

Bailey has been teaching at Marshall since 1985. During that time, WMUL-FM student broadcasters  have received 1,136 awards in nationwide competition. They won a school-record 131 awards in the 2010-2011 academic year.

“I’m humbled and honored,” Bailey said of the scholarship. “The day was not about me, it was about the former and current student staffs of WMUL-FM. But, they wanted to do this scholarship in my name and I’m very appreciative.”

Bailey said the event celebrating WMUL’s 50 years was “spectacular,” particularly because some guests who worked for the station nearly a half-century ago were able to attend.

“Everyone in attendance got a much fuller picture of the history of the station,” Bailey said. “The (event) was lengthy, but no one seemed to care. Everybody left that evening with smiles on their faces.”

Bailey said the support WMUL-FM has received over the years has kept the station up to speed and on the air.

“The station has accomplished some great things,” he said. “WMUL-FM has been successful and Marshall has supported it. I’ll give the current and past administration a lot of credit for their support of both me and my students.  And I think we’ve repaid their faith and confidence in us.”

Anyone interested in contributing to the Dr. Charles G. Bailey Award may do so by sending a check payable to the “MU Foundation” with memo line to read, “Dr. Charles G. Bailey Award – 300248” – to 519  John Marshall Dr., Huntington, WV 25703, or online at www.marshall.edu/foundation by putting “Dr. Charles G. Bailey Award – 300248” in the comment section.