Doug Westerman: Radio Sensation

Doug Westerman, a professor at Winona State, is General Manager for the campus radio station KQAL. More times than not you will be able to find him in Phelps Hall chatting away with the many students. He is always there to offer tips to students who want to be on air or just need life advice.



Her Campus (HC): How did you get involved in radio?

Doug Westerman (DW): When I was a kid I would lay in bed listening to my Zenith Royal 500 tuning into faraway places like Chicago, Denver and Detroit. I was fascinated by the voices. As a sports fan, hearing disk jockeys in these places fascinated me. I knew I had an interest in radio.


HC: How did you come to work at Winona State?

DW: I was in commercial radio in the Cities for 22 years and like a lot of people in radio I was let go. I found the job online in December of 2009 and was hired in May of 2010. I was intrigued by the position because it really mirrored my own experiences. I was very involved with my radio station at Bemidji State during my undergrad. So you could say my career came full circle.


HC: What is it like to work at a radio station?

DW: A lot of it has to do with the size of the market and the size of the radio station. It is always exciting but different, as in I find my current job more rewarding because I am working with students and sharing my passion. I enjoy the learning environment more so now because so much of commercial radio has become very corporate and in some ways unattached to their local audiences.



HC: What has been your most memorable moment on air?

DW: Most of my professional career has been behind the scenes and not actually on air. One of the funniest things I witnessed happened when I was the executive producer of the Vikings Radio Network. Paul Allen (current voice of Minnesota Vikings) was doing his first ever regular season Viking game and before the broadcast he spilled coffee on his notes. During the broadcast, he got excited during one particular play so when he came out of his chair in excitement he unplugged his microphone and headphones and so we had nothing but crowd noise. Later, in another moment when Allen got excited, he came out of his chair again and bumped his binoculars out of the booth which caused me to scramble from my perch behind him to see if the binoculars had fallen on a fan. Needless to say, I’m thinking “lawsuit” until I saw the binoculars in a cable tray (where the TV/radio run cables) below our booth. It is rather apparent he had a heck of a first day.


HC: What keeps you inspired with radio?

DW: I think the fact that it is still artwork for the brain. Really good radio needs good writing, great description, effects and talent and finding those elements in people and enjoying their work is what keeps me inspired.


HC: What is your advice to anyone who wants to work with radio?

DW: My advice would be don’t think about working in radio as just being in radio. You have to be able to write for the ear, for the eye, and for the brain. You have to be able to shoot video, take photos, blog and create for yourself an act of social media presence in order to be successful in radio.


HC: Thanks Doug for insight into your experience and KQAL!

So whether you want to learn more about radio or just want to have a conversation in between class, Doug Westerman is your man.