While WAVM has never been intended as a grooming ground for students wishing to work in communications, the station has definitely been an influence. There are over 70 former students, who now work or are studying to work in radio, TV, and film.
Jim, of course, graduated before WAVM ventured into cable, but he found himself working in television anyway as a news photographer. The bulk of his career has been spent at WJAR in Providence, RI, and he has won 9 Emmys, including one for a special he produced: “South County Spill: A Community Comes Together.” Twice, in 1994 and ’95, he has also been named as the best photographer in the northeast by the National Press Photographer Association.
While Mark Minasian was a student at WAVM, he held directorships in the Music, Promotions, and Engineering Departments. After graduation, Mark attended Mt. Wachusett College, studying Public Communications. In October of 1982, he began working for Cablevision and became the Student Advisor for WAVM in 2000, making him the first alumni to come back and run the program.
At one point, Mike L. Slate “tossed everything in the trunk” and headed for California only to starve for 6 months. However, he got a break as an editor on HBO’s “1st & Ten,” which lead to several other jobs including “L.A. Law,” “Max Headroom,” “Northern Exposure,” and, most notably, “The Wonder Years.” In the 1990’s, Mike decided to try his hand at editing film and became part of such feature films as “Naked Gun 33 1/3”, “Tommy Boy”, “My Fellow Americans”, “Central Intelligence”, and “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”. He also edited hit TV shows such as “We’re the Millers” and L.A Law”. Currently, he is continuing his film career and public speaking about the entertainment industry.
When John Lafauce joined WAVM, one of his first efforts was to paint a mural on the old radio station wall. It was a prelude to the many station contributions he’d make that would eventually earn him an award as Most Creative Member-WAVM Cable TV. Years later, after relocating to Los Angeles, John continued with his interests in film/video and received an award from the American Film Institute, for a video short he did while enrolled at Massachusetts College of Art. John’s creativity, artistic touch and love of filmmaking, again paid off as he was hired as a Digital Effects Artist compositing and creating visual effects shots for feature films. Since 1994, he’s worked on over 200 FX shots, including “Waterworld,” “Heat,” “Executive Decision”, “The Peacemaker”, “Independence Day” and the 1998 classic, “Godzilla.”.
After WAVM, Pete attended Syracuse University in upstate New York where he studied Television and Film Production at the prestigious S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Upon graduation in 1987, he found work as a cameraman and editor for a Boston TV show, “Real Estate Review.” Since 1990, he has been working in the Boston area for WBZ-TV in the Commercial Production Department. Over the past summer alone, Pete shot and edited on a wide-range of projects, including 30-second spots for New England Ford Dealers, Hy-Line Cruises, Yankee Magazine Travel Tips, and J.B. Sash & Door. Currently, he is finishing a half-hour golf program called “Beat the Pro.”
Jim remembers WAVM and Joe Magno as preparing him for Curry College where he would major in Communications. Jim was so prepared, in fact, that one major wasn’t enough. He also majored in Physics. After graduating from Curry with several honors and awards, Jim received his Master’s Degree from Murray State University and started working at WARA in Attleboro, MA. For four years he was the Chief Engineer before taking an Assistant Chief Engineer at WBCN in Boston. In 1989, he became Chief Engineer and has enjoyed many great experiences working with the likes of Charles Laquidara and covering special events like the Patriots going to the Superbowl.
Mark Minaisan joined WAVM when he was in the 7th Grade and had a country music radio show. He also held an Assistant Engineering Directorships before graduating and attending Worcester State where he studied Mass Communications with a concentration in new technologies. From 1990 to 1997, Mark worked for Cablevision as an Associate Producer/Director, just recently leaving to pursue another love, firefighting.
After WAVM, Todd Boothroyd attended Syracuse University, studying for a dual major in English and Television, Radio, and Film Production. After graduation, Todd slowly climbed a cable company’s ladder until he worked for their subsidiaries: American Movie Classics, Bravo, and the Independent Film Channel where he produced national promos. Currently, Todd is a freelance writer, scripting for Nick Clooney and Bob Dorian at AMC, creating websites, and working on his own dramatic material.
Denise’s initial experience in WAVM was as a morning show disc jockey, but she soon became an excellent Music Director. After high school, she studied communications at University of Massachusetts and had two internships: one with Sara Edwards at Channel 7 and the other with Christian Science Monitor televison. After taking a seminar, she made a contact and was recommended for a job in the Film Industry. Since then she has worked on several feature films such as Kenneth Branagh’s “Shakespeare’s Sister,” “Celtic Pride,” and “American Buffalo.” Currently, she works for WGBH in Boston.
Actually, Lynn was a late bloomer with WAVM not joining until late in her sophomore year. However, she became very active as a Sports Director and then Co-Chair on the 1984 Awards Banquet. She then studied Radio & Television at the University of Maryland. Afterwards she worked as a Technical Director, Editor and news photographer for Potomac Television and CNN News in Washington D.C., covering such events as the bombing of the World Trade Center, the Olympics, and government affairs. Currently, Lynn is a freelancer near Atlanta, Georgia.
Like a lot of WAVM students, Chris lived at the station and distinguished himself in many, many ways. The most memorable times were probably the creative WAVM T-Shirts he designed or his three stints as Telethon host. Chris then attended Hofstra University to study television production, and in 1994, he produced a show on the NFL’s new Collective Bargaining Agreements which earned him an Award as best producer and editor. Chris continued his editing experience at a Manhattan post-production house and ESPN. Nowadays, he puts his creativity to work for QVC, one of the cable-TV shopping networks, as a Field Producer.
In the past, WAVM has shown movies at the M.H.S. auditiorium, and Nicole recalls having a birthday party at the showing of “The Muppet Movie.” Fifteen years later, Kermit and Gonzo personally wished her a happy birthday when she turned 25. This birthday greeting didn’t happen at WAVM but in Los Angeles at The Jim Henson Company where Nicole is the Assistant to the Office of the President. Nicole has been there for two years after working freelance production on such programs as “Fortune Hunter,” “SeaQuest DSV,” and “That’s My Dog.” Nicole says, “I have always been very proud of my involvement with WAVM, and I think the support from the community and Mr. Magno along with the atmosphere of the station – a place where students could do anything they put their minds to – helped introduce me to the entertainment industry and spark my interest to become a part of it.”
Sarah believes that, without the WAVM Faculty Advisor, most of the kids would not have a direction in their life. WAVM was just not another school club for her, and many others. “It was like an extended family.” She knows that a lot of the other students involved have home troubles. Without the station, many of those students would be getting into trouble because they had no one to guide them. She certainly credits Mags and the station with giving her the spark to go to college. Currently, she is studying communications and hopes to one day be a video or film editor. Perhaps she’ll be the next Thelma Schoonmaker.
Tim went through the full WAVM television experience–Control room Director, Videotape Director, and then Programming Manager–before becoming General Manager. He then attended Syracuse University earning a Journalism degree. Returning to Massachusetts in 1995, Tim became a writer for Channel 7 in Boston until January of ’97 when he turned to writing in the medical publishing field.
Jon is currently studying Communications at UMass in Amherst and hoping to one day work in radio. Currently, he’s the sports director for that colleges radio station, WMUA, which is a continuation of his experiences at WAVM. Here, Jon started as a Sports Director and became a Manager in charge of TV Production, starting a popular sports show called “Talkin’ Trash.” In his senior year, Jon was General Manager.
Kathy is majoring in communications at Northeastern University. As of Spring 1998, she is working at Bell Atlantic for their events and promotions devision. She credits WAVM as preparing her “for everything that I do now, and was a great steppingstone for all I do.”
Kevin says, “I will never forget the year we had to have a skeleton crew at the [Beacon Santa] Telethon. It was the first time I felt important at WAVM.” It was also the first time over two feet of snow had fallen during the fundraiser, and all but twenty kids were sent home. At the time, Eric was in the 8th Grade and had a great time working crew. In his senior year at M.H.S., Kevin would be one of the hosts working in front of the camera. Currently, he is studying communications at La Salle College in Philadelphia and hopes to one day direct and produce a television show or movie.
Among several ways that Brian distinguished himself at WAVM was for his work at the 1996 Beacon Santa Telethon as well as his supervision of radio programs. It wasn’t uncommon for Brian to listen to WAVM on his way home from work. The moment he entered the door, he would call the station and give the on-air talent suggestions on improvements or congratulate them for a job well-done. As of September 1997, he will be studying Communications at Quinnipiac College in Connecticut.
Garrett joined WAVM as an 8th Grader and He really rose to distinction as a General Manager, a Beacon Santa Telethon Host, and a member who proved to be a real leader. Soon, Garrett is planning to attend college, studying film, acting, and directing.
And there will sure to be more in the future…
Although many WAVM students venture into the communications, some have exceeded in other fields as well. Russ Arena, Class of 1975, has a growing family, is the Chief Pilot for Raytheon, and flies all around the world. Cheryl Striker, who graduated circa 1988, is working at the U.S. Embassy in Egypt.
The Story of WAVM concludes with Just Beginning… Part II