Story by news director Erin Ben-Moche
College is a time to meet new friends, try new things and gain the knowledge and skills needed to have a successful career. When students graduate, they can always count on Homecoming weekend to return to the place where it all started. Let’s take a look to see what our WXOU alumnus have been up to since graduating WXOU and Oakland University.
Erik Anderson was the host of The Erik Anderson Program (2007-2010), WXOU Program Director – 2008-09 and WXOU General Manager – 2009-10 during his time at WXOU. The Erik Anderson Program played everything from the 1960’s to now. he enjoyed playing the songs you secretly sang along to in the car. He also liked to interview people from the Oakland University Community. Anderson worked at WJR-AM 760 AM doing everything from Board Operating to Producer/Call-Screener to Website Content Editor. In 2012 he left WJR and moved to TV. He currently works as an Assignment Editor for WXYZ Channel 7 in Southfield, Mich. His job is to check out the news tips and then assign a crew or reporter to cover the stories of the day. If you see a reporter on TV covering a story, there’s a good chance he had something to do with it.
Lauren Barthold currently works as a Producer/Reporter for WWJ Newsradio 950. She just began working full time in June on the afternoon show with Greg Bowman from 2 to 7 p.m. After graduation in May of 2016, she worked at both WWJ and Fox 2 as a Producer. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, taking in concerts, exercising and baking. (It’s all about balance, you know.) Without WXOU and Oakland University, she most definitely would not have gained the experience needed to get my foot in the door of the radio business. At WXOU Barthold was on the Executive staff for three years and hosted “The News @ Noon” and “Oona and Dos.”
David Bugg received his bachelors of arts in communication studies at the end of the 2017 winter semester. Since graduation, he has become a content writer and multimedia specialist for Elite Rehab Placement. The company assists those who struggle with addiction and helps them find the right rehab facility. His time at WXOU gave him the opportunity to practice the skills that have made him a success in his job today. His show “Jolly Good Radio Hour” can be heard Tuesdays at 6 p.m. The relationships, mentorship and overall atmosphere of the radio station embedded self-confidence to take on any future endeavor he may face. WXOU provided an unforgettable experience that gave way to unlocking his fullest potential and crafted his post-college self. Creative, motivational, inspiring, enlighting and empowering are five words that explain the identity of WXOU and how it impacts an individual.
Oona Goodin-Smith is a reporter at The Flint Journal, owned by MLive Media Group, in Flint, Mich. There, she covers Flint’s turbulent government and political scene; federal and state courts in Genesee, Shiawassee, and Lapeer counties; the on-going water crisis’ impact on the city; and a little bit of everything else. Oona graduated from OU in 2016 with degrees in communication and journalism and acquired a lot of parking tickets doing so. When she wasn’t chasing down the tow truck, Oona co-hosted the “Oona and Dos” weekly radio show on WXOU with Detroit radio legend Lauren Barthold. She was also editor-in-chief of The Oakland Post, a correspondent with USA TODAY, and behind the scenes of the OU Snapchat account.
After graduating in 2016, Jim “Jimmy Cat” Kennedy stayed at WXOU for a few months doing a morning talk show, with fellow WXOU alum Megan Hojnacki, called “Jimmycat and the Hoj.” He is currently working at WXYT 97.1 “The Ticket,” a sports radio station in Southfield, MI, as a producer/board operator.
Haylie Presnell was a COM/JRN alumna who graduated in April 2016 with a degree in Communication and minors in Broadcasting and Creative Writing. Her Post-grad life consists of working as a copywriter and social media manager in a small in-house marketing team for a mortgage company called (and she guesses Quicken Loans rival) United Shore. She’s recently switched up positions and is now a digital sourcer for a company called ektello (yeah, the “e” is lowercase lol it’s a branding thing.) In her role, she seeks out creative talent and tries to help them find work for clients that work in industries including entertainment, retail, and more including NBC and Airbnb. She still writes on the side and is looking to bring back “Cup of Yup” as a podcast.
Brendan Riley[PHOTO]–Since graduating from Oakland University in 2016, Brendan Riley has moved to Grand Rapids to work as a board operator/ producer for iHeartRadio. He originally moved to Grand Rapids to produce a sports talk show Mondays through Fridays but as is the radio business, things have changed. Now his responsibilities range from overnight board operating to filling in hosting and quite truly each work week is different from the last. Riley was WXOU Sports Director in 2015 and co-hosted weekly sports talk show “The Riley and Rookie Show.”
Marty Shafer graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication during the spring of 2011. During his time at WXOU his show, “Marty Party” aired Fridays from 8-9 p.m. from 2006-2011. After graduating, he immediately returned to start his Master of Arts in Communication, which he received in 2014. Since graduating, He has been teaching communication courses at Oakland University and Macomb Community College. Shafer also serves as the Faculty Advisor for WXOU.
Anthony Spak started as a WXOU DJ during his freshman year in the winter of 2012. For over four years he hosted “Attack of the Spak” and proudly served as Music Director in 2015 and 2016. Though he graduated in the spring of that year and has put his weekly show to bed, WXOU will always be a place he calls home. Spak is currently a freelance writer, a drummer for two local bands and a line cook at The Clarkston Union – a restaurant known for its Mac N’ Cheese and occasional Kid Rock visits. Spak recently DJ’d his first wedding and is excited to work more of those events.