Radio production contest to memorialize local radio personality John McMullen
Local radio personality John “Jack” McMullen, who died in 2005, will have his storytelling legacy continued as the Jack McMullen Memorial Radio Production Contest is launched this spring at Penn State Fayette, the Eberly Campus. McMullen was a radio personality, news director, disc jockey and play-by-play announcer for nearly 50 years on local radio stations.
McMullen’s son, John McMullen II of Oakland, Calif., proposed the contest as a learning experience for Penn State Fayette students. “My father was a great raconteur—which is a fancy name for a story teller—about his childhood and life in Fayette County. His 50 years on the radio and his contributions to the Oral History Project of the Coal and Coke Heritage Center located at Penn State Fayette made this contest seem like a natural. And I wanted folks to remember my pop,” he explained.
“I was in the first class at the Fayette campus, growing up in Fayette County in the ‘60s and ‘70s. I wish I had kept an oral record of those exciting times,” he continued. “When we read personal history it brings the past to life in the small stories rather than the big headlines of battles and elections. For example, Samuel Pepys’ diary gives us a great account of daily life in 1660 London. I’m hoping that this contest can help preserve for the future some personal accounts of what life is like in this corner of the republic in these tumultuous days.”
To participate in the contest, students need to write and produce an 8-15 minute audio segment about life in Fayette County. The model for entries is Ira Glass’ “This American Life,” which is broadcast on National Public Radio.
The contest is open to full and part-time Penn State Fayette students. The deadline to register to participate is February 15. Final submissions are due by April 1, and winners will be announced in early May.
The prize for First Place is $250, and the winner will be interviewed by and have their submission broadcast on WMBS in Uniontown and University Park student radio station WKPS “The Lion.” Second and third prizes are $100 and $50 respectively, based on the number of contestants and qualified submissions. The family of Jack McMullen is funding the contest.
Judges for the contest include a number of other well-known individuals:
- Fred C. Adams, attorney and Fayette County Court of Common Pleas judge, retired;
- Robert Eberly Jr., attorney, retired from the Navy General Counsel’s Office, author, and son of the late Robert Eberly, for whom the campus is named;
- Boshra Gheopreal, WKPS program director;
- Evelyn Hovanec, professor emeritus of English and American studies at Penn State Fayette, author, and co-founder of the Oral History Project; and
- Brian Mroziak, WMBS station manager.
Dr. F. Russell Filburn, senior instructor in arts and humanities, is the contest coordinator. Bobby Salitrik, an instructional materials designer at the campus, is providing production and technological support and instruction to contestants.
Penn State Fayette students interested in participating in the contest should call 724 430-4252 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Penn State Fayette has established a webpage for more information: www.fayette.psu.edu/Academics/32090.htm.