Former WOUB Engineer Ed Williams increases annual WOUB student award amount to $2,000
Technology-oriented students working at WOUB Public Media now have the opportunity to be awarded a $2,000 scholarship – thanks to former WOUB Radio and TV Engineer Ed Williams. Williams recently made a six-figure donation to his endowed fund through the Ohio University Foundation which will increase the annual award amount for the Edmund A. Williams Technology Oriented Leadership Award. Up until now, recipients had received $500.
“When the award was initially established in 1974, the amount was adequate for the day, but it was much too small for today,” said Williams. “After making a couple of smaller donations to increase the fund, I decided to donate what I planned to provide in my will. Why not do it now and see the award given on schedule and increasing as well? It’s a win, win!”
Williams worked at WOUB from 1961–1974. He went on to work for PBS, where he was part of the team that developed captioning for the deaf and helped build the PBS Satellite Interconnection System for 50 stations nationwide. Williams also worked for the National Association of Broadcasters and the Advanced Television Test Center, before returning to PBS in 1992 to work on the implementation of digital television. He retired from PBS in 2005. In 2007, he moved to The Villages, an active adult community in central Florida.
During his time at WOUB, Williams worked with and trained students in the installation and maintenance of radio and television equipment. Through that work, Williams was able to see how much students benefited from the experience they gained working at a professional PBS and NPR member station.
“I was dealing with students every day, and they were curious and anxious to participate in the technology of the time,” said Williams. “WOUB has a wonderful legacy of students entering the media industry and ‘hitting the ground running.’ Likely more than any other university.”
Due to the impact of the WOUB student experience, when Williams left WOUB in 1974, he decided to establish an annual award for students working with media technology at WOUB.
“Because the world is becoming more technology oriented in general but with little knowledge of what makes things work by the average student and adult, I felt it was important to encourage more technical involvement by students. In the past it meant understanding how sound studios, related equipment, and AM-FM-TV transmission facilities worked. Today it means understanding how broadcasting utilizes state of the art computer and data driven facilities. All broadcasters have operators for their equipment, but they must also have staff who know the principles of integrating the multiple and varied systems and automation in broadcast facilities today.”
Williams’ recent donation makes him the second person to make a six-figure gift to exclusively support students at WOUB. The first was in May of 2022 by Doug Drew ‘78 to establish the Doug Drew WOUB Student Professional Development Fund. Drew’s fund is used to provide general support for professional development experiences for students involved with WOUB to prepare them for careers in media. A plaque will be created in honor of Williams’ donation that will be hung beside Drew’s plaque on the third floor of the Radio and Television Building outside the WOUB newsroom.
“WOUB is one of a very few university broadcast stations where students are directly involved in operations, on-air programming, in front of camera and microphone, and community involvement,” said Williams. “I am proud to have been associated with WOUB Radio and TV and its students.”