Alumni and Friends

The J.M. Smucker Co. Director and Managing Counsel Cole Braham uses what he learned at OHIO and WOUB to lead his team

When Cole Braham came to Ohio University from Hudson, Ohio, the plan was to be the next big sports anchor at ESPN.

“I love sports, and I grew up watching ESPN any second I could, so that was the goal of course,” said Braham with a laugh. “And when I saw the campus and learned that I could be on the air at WOUB, I knew this was the college for me hook, line and sinker.”

In high school, Braham hosted his own high school sports program and did play-by-play for high school baseball and basketball games. So, the ability to continue with that hands-on experience was important to him.

Braham started working at WOUB anchoring the morning radio sportscasts. He eventually worked his way to television and anchored sports for WOUB TV’s nightly half-hour news program NewsWatch. He also was a field reporter for Gridiron Glory, WOUB’s high school football program.

“It was a lot of fun and I learned so much during my time at WOUB.”

One of the things he learned was that broadcast sports wasn’t exactly the right fit for him.

“Part of me realized that I just wanted to keep sports as a hobby and not the focus of my profession,” said Braham. “I made a resumé reel, but I never sent it out.  Instead, after graduation, I decided to go to law school.”

While the two areas of study seem completely unrelated, Braham says there is actually a lot he uses from his time at WOUB and Ohio University in his role as director and counsel for The J. M. Smucker Company.

“A big part of my practice is mergers and acquisitions, and one of my biggest takeaways from the WOUB newsroom experience was that whole team atmosphere. There were anchors, reporters, producers, videographers and editors. Everybody played a part, and that’s such a good training ground for what it’s like to juggle an acquisition or divestiture. There are several different people that play different roles. You have to understand what each of them does and ask the right questions to see how your role fits in with what they are doing. If somebody is not pulling their weight, it just doesn’t work.”

Braham also says that the communication skills he learned at WOUB have been vital to his career growth.

“Lawyers get a bad rap for speaking in jargon. But I get complimented for not doing that. I write things with a 15 second lead and short, concise sentences to get to the point and make it understandable,” said Braham. “The ability to write concisely and the ability to speak coherently on your feet in front of people is so important.”

Even though he didn’t end up anchoring ESPN’s SportsCenter, Braham has a sports analogy to describe how his WOUB experience shaped his legal career.

“WOUB gave me the ability to kind of quarterback a legal team,” said Braham. “Being able to work as a key part of a larger team is invaluable. I learned that at WOUB.”

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.

November 7, 2023
Cheri Russo