NBC5 Chicago TV director is thankful for her start as a student at Ohio University and WOUB
As a TV director at NBC5 in Chicago, Natalie Abraham is in charge of making sure the station’s morning show gets on the air each weekday. It’s a job she learned how to do as an Ohio University student working at WOUB Public Media.
“I think there’s only so much you can learn in a classroom because everything is kind of laid out for you,” said Abraham. “But at WOUB, we were given real-world opportunities to gain hands-on experiences and learn. We learned when things went right, but we also learned when things went wrong.”
Abraham grew up in Millersburg, Ohio and knew that she wanted to study media in college. She went on visits to many different colleges, but when she set foot on the campus of Ohio University, Abraham said there was no need to look any further.
“Some of the different universities we went to had media programs with campus stations, but Ohio University blew my mind,” said Abraham. “The campus was beautiful, and the facilities were up to date. The equipment and technology at WOUB were way above everything else I was seeing. After my tour, I knew I was definitely going to Ohio University.”
After arriving in Athens for fall semester, Abraham attended the Student Involvement Fair and walked right over to the WOUB table.
“I wanted to know how to get involved as quickly as possible,” said Abraham. “I started working on the production side of things for NewsWatch. Then I began working on Hardwood Heroes in January of that school year. After that, I jumped into Gridiron Glory, and I worked at WOUB every semester until I graduated.”
Abraham learned all facets of TV production. She started running camera, teleprompter and graphics and then worked her way up to become a TV director. After graduation, she was offered a director position at a TV station in Norfolk, Virginia.
“There is no way I would have gotten the job without WOUB.”
After three years in Virginia, Abraham accepted a director position at KARE TV in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and in May, 2022 she moved to Chicago for the morning show director position at WMAQ NBC5.
Media production in general is a male dominated industry. As a female director, the person who leads the production crew, Abraham is a rarity.
“As a female director, there’s a lot of loneliness. Many times, I’m the only female who is part of the production team, and I bring a different viewpoint overall,” said Abraham. “But I was supported as a woman director at WOUB, and I am confident in my knowledge and skills because of that.”
Abraham says she’s truly grateful for the experience she was able to get as a student at WOUB.
“We were given such a big opportunity to not only do well but to also fail and to learn from it,” said Abraham. “WOUB really allowed us to not only learn as we went but also taught us how to recover when we did make mistakes, and that was huge.”