When it comes to launching and building lasting careers in broadcast TV, WLUK-TV, Fox 11 in Green Bay has been a University of Wisconsin Oshkosh partner like few others.
“Throughout the years, Fox 11 has hired more than 100 UW Oshkosh graduates from the Radio-TV-Film program,” Bill Kiefer, 1981 Radio-TV-Film (RTF) program alumnus and assistant news director at Fox 11.
The Green Bay station and UW Oshkosh have developed a strong working relationship over the years that has given RTF students and graduates dozens of opportunities to develop hands-on experience using industry-standard equipment and facilities and collaboration skills.
Currently, six RTF alumni are using the skills they learned in the classroom and Titan TV studios, through mentors and professors and group work, at Fox 11.
Kiefer, who has worked at Fox 11 for 29 years said the UW Oshkosh RTF program,no question, prepared him well for his career.
“The overall training I received was invaluable, especially the hands-on learning,” Kiefer said. “I’m very proud of the fact that I’ve been able to use my degree and RTF background.”
For Kiefer and fellow RTF alumni Donna Fischer, ’93, who is the director of community relations at Fox 11, having courses in the fundamentals in addition to creative classes prepared them for their broadcasting careers.
“At UW Oshkosh, we were able to get into projects that mimicked the professional environment we would soon be joining, and it was an eye-opening experience on the amount of time and time management needed for a short PSA,” Fischer, who has worked at Fox 11 for 20 years, said.
Fischer said the RTF program not only provided the foundation she needed for her career but also gave her a tight-knit community and family of peers.
“We were always working closely on projects outside of class that we all became like family,” Fischer said. “I didn’t need to join a sorority because I had so many friends and support in RTF.”
While their roles vary at Fox 11, Kiefer, Fischer and fellow alumni Zachary Bruss, ’04, Kimberly Krejcarek, ’10, Ryan Curley, ’09, and Tyler Wundrow, ’10, all say the opportunities they had through the RTF program helped them gain the confidence they needed to pursue and excel at WLUK.
“It’s the collaborative nature of the industry, getting to participate in so many projects with so many people within the program and getting to play with the equipment and find my way through it that helped me get where I am today,” Bruss, the director of research at Fox 11 said. “In an ever-changing industry, we really do have the best professors.”
Bruss is one of several RTF alumni who have pledged to return to the UW Oshkosh campus for the RTF 50th anniversary celebration and reunion during Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 18.
The reunion weekend includes Friday, Oct. 17 media panels on campus, a Saturday Titan Football game celebration and an awards dinner. Alumni can learn more and RSVP at the RTF 50th Anniversary website.