Ohio University and WOUB laid the groundwork for Jason Notoras’s media management career

Published: December 5, 2023 Author: Cheri Russo

With high school basketball season underway and another season of WOUB’s Hardwood Heroes just around the corner, Jason Notoras is proud and amazed that the show he and a few other students pitched to WOUB leadership in 2006 is still on the air.

"Coming up with Hardwood Heroes was a lightbulb moment for us,” said Notoras. “We worked with creatives on design and theme music. The team also dove into market research, gathering data for the leadership teams to show them that people in the area would actually want to watch it.” The concept became a reality that winter: the show was green-lit. “Seeing it is still on air today, I'm incredibly proud of the hard work we put in and what we achieved.” 

Notoras came to Athens in 2003 from the Columbus area. He applied to Ohio University because of the reputation of its journalism school. Once he saw the campus and all it offered, he knew it was the place for him. "Ohio University distinguished itself through its beautiful campus, opportunities like WOUB, and the associated journalism prestige."

Reflecting on his acceptance, Notoras shared, "Receiving my early admission letter from Ohio University remains a vivid memory; that day I reached a milestone toward which I had been diligently working for years." 

Nortoras knew he wanted to be a “TV sports talker guy” since he was 10 years old.

“My mom still has a homework assignment that I did when I was in the fifth grade,” said Notoras. “It asked me to fill in what I wanted to be when I grew up and I wrote ‘TV sports talker guy.’ I don’t know how I knew that, but my desire to be a TV sports journalist only grew from there.”

When Notoras arrived on campus, he got involved at WOUB right away. He immediately started working on WOUB’s high school football program, Gridiron Glory.

“When I saw the Gridiron Glory set, it was a wow moment. Everything suddenly transformed from aspiration to reality,” Notoras said with a laugh. “I started at WOUB and got involved in everything I could.”

Notoras did both radio and TV sports and then eventually moved into news. And as he approached his senior year, he realized that maybe being on the air as a “TV sports talker guy” wasn’t the only thing he wanted to do in media.

“Pitching Hardwood Heroes and learning the process behind developing content and getting it out there, I really enjoyed that,” said Notoras. “Maybe I didn’t fully realize it at the time, but reflecting upon my collegiate journey, the practical experiences at WOUB provided a strong foundation for my career path.”

Notoras’ first job out of college was as a sports anchor/director and fill-in news anchor in Brownsville, Texas, where he won an Associated Press award. But after about two and half years, the station began producing newscasts from an out-of-market sister station, and Notoras lost his job.  Notoras was hired to work as a weekend sports anchor in Corpus Christi, Texas, then went on to be an Emmy award-winning multimedia manager in Houston, Texas. Along the way, he contributed to social media strategy and building up web-based content. Eventually, Notoras made a career in the digital content/brand storytelling space. Similar to the staying power of Hardwood Heroes, he has created podcasts and award-winning livestream programming that are still producing content today. He currently works at Chevron in Houston, Texas as the Chevron Newsroom managing editor. 

"My collegiate and professional journey prepared me for where I am today. The experiences gleaned from Ohio University, along with real-world application in newsrooms, instilled in me not only a profound understanding of effective communication but also the capability to navigate through diverse narratives and multifaceted operational settings. Transitioning to a corporate environment, I found that these skills aligned with the demands of brand storytelling, content strategy, and communication management."

In his current role, Notoras says he has the opportunity to mentor young people, and he always thinks about the experiences he gained at WOUB.

“With WOUB from the start, I felt embraced and provided the opportunity to learn to grow. It’s really up to the person to decide how they will use that opportunity. In the field of journalism, your greatest tool is collaboration. That’s what I got at WOUB. I could tap into professionals, and they were all willing to answer questions without judgement. I feel like WOUB led with empathy and WOUB had a readiness to uplift others. It’s a core part of my passion for how I want to give back in the world of communications. I want to pass that on.”