Ken Slats learned his storytelling skills at WOUB and Ohio University
When Ken Slats started at Ohio University in 1987, he knew he wanted to pursue a career in media as a journalist telling the stories of his sports heroes. So, he got involved at WOUB to gain hands-on, professional media experience. Slats never imagined he would use the storytelling skills he learned while he was in college to work for the city of Savannah, Georgia, but now, he can’t imagine doing anything else.
“I’ve been the Anchor/Reporter/Producer/Writer/Videographer/Editor for Savannah Government Television (SGTV) for nearly eight years,” said Slats. “And I absolutely love using my video and media skills to share all the unique and wonderful things going on in this beautiful city.”
Slats grew up in Hinckley, Ohio, near Cleveland. He chose Ohio University after his high school counselor asked him to take a test to determine his career interests and the colleges that aligned best with those interests.
“The test spit out three colleges and one of them was Ohio University,” said Slats. “For geographical and financial reasons, I chose Ohio University. But it didn’t take long for me to figure out that I had made the right decision.”
When he arrived on campus, Slats got involved at WOUB very quickly and saw the value in doing the work at a professional PBS/NPR member station.
“Classes are classes, but this was actually hands-on experience, and it was important,” said Slats.
Slats started on WOUB AM radio doing work on a sports talk show. By the time he was a sophomore, Slats was on television as a sports anchor on WOUB TV’s NewsWatch.
“WOUB meant everything. The best part about WOUB is that you got out of it what you put into it,” said Slats. “You could do as much as you wanted. I did a lot and got a lot out of it. All the students were learning as you were. It was a family there.”
During his junior and senior years, Slats stayed in Athens over winter break and worked at WOUB. After graduation, he was hired to work at WOUB over the summer while he looked for a job.
“After I got back to the Cleveland area, I reached out to a few other former WOUB students who worked in the area. I ended up volunteering my time at WUAB/WOIO TV where Ron Jantz worked,” said Slats. “Then I got a job in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina at WPDE TV. I was hired by Bob Mihalic, who was a former WOUBer, and was the sports director. Because of what I had learned at WOUB, I had the knowledge and experience I needed to do the job.”
Slats worked at WPDE for three years as the weekend sports anchor and reporter. When his contract ended, there was new management at the station and his contract was not renewed. So, Slats went back home to Cleveland.
“I immediately got the opportunity to produce the Cleveland Browns Post game TV show and work as a freelance reporter for WUAB/WOIO. I did that for about a year,” said Slats. “Then I got a job as the weekend sports anchor in Reno, Nevada.”
After Reno, Slats worked in Rochester, New York before moving back to Cleveland and becoming the director of media relations for the Cleveland Crunch soccer team. He eventually got back into the TV business, working in Youngstown, Ohio and Buffalo, New York before landing a job as the sports director at WSAV in Savannah, Georgia. Slats worked at WSAV for 10 years before accepting his current position with the city of Savannah.
Slats says he wouldn’t be where he is today without the real-world experience he got at WOUB and Ohio University.
“At WOUB, you learned from people who were in the business, and you were able to become a part of a great network of people,” said Slats. “WOUB had great facilities and equipment that you were going to use in your first job. WOUB was like your first job, but you had more support around you. The real-time, real-world experience you were able to get was something that was not available anywhere else.”
About WOUB Public Media
As a member station of both NPR and PBS, WOUB Public Media is a trusted source of news, local content and educational resources that have proven to be worthy of the time, effort and support of our users. WOUB, an experiential-learning unit of the Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University, is a non-profit, community-supported multimedia organization which provides online and broadcast services, along with non-broadcast educational services and student professional development. WOUB serves 55 counties throughout southeastern Ohio, western West Virginia and eastern Kentucky with its broadcast signals. WOUB Radio’s FM Network has transmitters in Athens, Chillicothe, Ironton, Zanesville and Cambridge, while WOUB AM serves the immediate Athens area. WOUB TV is made up of seven television channels (WOUB HD, WOUB Classic, WOUB World, WOUB Create, WOUB Ohio, WOUB Kids and WOUB Voicecorps Reading Service) which are broadcast from two transmitters.
Through its support of public service, teaching, research and administrative missions, along with its high-quality local content and programming, WOUB enriches, enhances and expands the lives and horizons of the people in the communities it serves, as well as Ohio University faculty, staff and students.