Nov. 21, 2007
From staff reports
Three million households.
That's the extra reach Ohio University's three Promise television commercials will have, thanks to help from alumnus and Ohio University Foundation Trustee Perry Sook, president and CEO of Nexstar Broadcasting Group Inc., a Top 20 television broadcasting company.
"Ohio University played an important role in helping me realize my potential," said Sook, who earned a bachelor's degree in communication in 1980. "I can't think of anything more rewarding than helping other students and their families learn more about the excellence and remarkable opportunity we all know has long distinguished this university."
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Following a screening of the Promise commercials at the Nov. 3 Foundation board meeting, Sook contacted Howard Lipman, vice president for university advancement and president and CEO of The Ohio University Foundation, with an offer. Sook wanted to help expand the reach of the campaign to key out-of-state markets through some of the 49 stations across the country that he owns.
"Perry and other foundation trustees have been encouraging the university to explore marketing itself for at least five years," Lipman said. "I'm proud we have a campaign that he believes in so much that he's willing to share it with his viewers. His leadership and this gift have the power to make a substantive difference for Ohio University."
The commercials began airing last week in 12 markets across five states: Erie, Altoona, St. College, Wilkes Barre and Scranton, Pa.; Hagerstown, Md.; Rochester and Utica, N.Y.; Evansville, Ft. Wayne and Terre Haute, Ind.; and Champaign, Springfield, Rockford, Peoria and Bloomington, Ill. The spots will air through November, December and the first week of January.
"Perry's generosity is truly priceless," said Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis. "We have often heard it said that Ohio University is a 'best kept secret.' Now, Perry is making our university a household word in markets we could only have hoped to reach sometime in the future. In terms of prospective student interest, applications, yield, and alumni pride and excitement, I am confident we will see quite a return on his investment."
Sook formed Nexstar in 1996 and has rapidly grown the company to a $300 million broadcasting powerhouse that operates 49 television stations covering 27 markets in the Northeast, Midwest and Southwest regions of the United States.
"There are many obvious reasons we're excited about this gift," said Gina Calcamuggio, senior director of marketing communications and producer of The Promise campaign. "Perry Sook is opening up doors for the campaign we couldn't have imagined."
This opportunity, she said, has added value beyond the TV time.
"Ohio University has a way of attracting students with a spark of greatness inside of them. Something happens to them here, and that spark is ignited to shape leaders who know how to make a mark that matters on this world. Mr. Sook is a powerful example of how Ohio University's promise is being fulfilled," Calcamuggio said.
The Promise campaign began in October and includes TV, radio, billboard, Internet and print ads. Through student stories, the campaign highlights Ohio University's academic excellence and its track record for student success. The university ranks fourth in the nation for graduation rate performance, according to this year's U.S. News and World Report rankings, and stands with the top universities in the nation for the number of students who receive nationally competitive academic awards.
Prior to forming Nexstar, Sook was a principal of Superior Communications Group Inc. In addition to his service to his alma mater as a foundation trustee, he is a member of the executive committee of the Television Bureau of Advertising Board of Directors. In 2006, the Texas Association of Broadcasters named him Broadcaster of the Year.
While a student at Ohio University, Sook was a member of Omicron Delta-Torch and Alpha Lambda Delta. He was named Outstanding Student for the School of Radio-TV in 1980 and won two national scholarships. He also served on the Residence Life staff and was the announcer for the Marching 110. Following graduation, Sook was employed by WATH as an announcer while he completed graduate coursework.
Sook, his wife, Sandra, and their three children - two daughters, Laura and Victoria, and son, P.J. - reside in Southlake, Texas.