For this assignment, I chose to interview a former radio news director by the name of Len Mailloux. He has worked at many radio stations across the country. Len is a former teacher of mine from my days at the New England Institute of Art and Communications. I had him for three classes including Intro. To Mass Communications, Radio I, and Broadcast Marketing and Management. He also taught many more classes, for he is a true expert when he comes to the media. I chose to interview Len because I have a great deal of respect for him as a teacher. He was extremely informative and funny at the same time.
I’ll never forget when he told us the story of how one of his listeners was very upset when she found out what he looked like. He said it was because he had a “face for radio. ” He actually looks a lot like Johnny Fever from the show “WKRP in Cincinnati. ” He is also very talented. One would only have to talk to him for a second to figure out that he is a radio professional. He has the most amazing radio voice. The fact that he responded to my request so quickly reaffirmed the fact that he is a caring teacher who is willing to help out a student in need.
Len is originally from Gardner, MA. He started his radio career while he was a student at Mount Wachusett College where he studied mass communications. While he was in school he worked part time for stations in Gardner and Leominster, MA. Upon graduating from school, Len got a full time job as a news director for WKBK in Keene, NH in 1972. Since then he has worked as the news director for WTTT in Amherst, MA, WHYN in Springfield, MA, KVIL in Dallas, TX, WPJB in Providence RI, and WVBF/WKLB in Boston.
As I said earlier, he is currently a full time member of the radio faculty at the New England Institute of Art and Communications. Aside from being a teacher, Len owns his own voice over business based out of his home studio in East Providence, RI. He has also taught at Emerson as an adjunct professor for Radio I. He hopes to return to Emerson when he receives his master’s degree in education next year. As a news director for various stations, he was responsible for all of the information programming.
His duties included hiring of staff, development of the news philosophy, on-air anchor work, writing, gathering and reporting news, and the development and production of public affairs programming and documentaries. It is clear that a media professional needs to possess many skills. He was particularly proud of the fact that his reporters and anchors were always encouraged to get the “impact” side of every story. He always wanted to cut out the fluff and get to the point. He aimed for the stories that affected people.
This is encouraging after hearing of so many people in charge of news being corrupt, such as in the videos we’ve watched in class. While he was KVIL in Dallas, his news department became the first radio news operation in America to incorporate the use of color weather radar, which greatly impacted the weather and information image in that market. This started a trend among radio stations across America to do a better job of pinpointing weather coverage to its audience. This was especially important in Dallas, which is in the heart of tornado country, where reliable weather information can save lives.