WQBE’s Nick McKendree credits an assignment for his freshmen year business class for getting him into radio. “We were required to do a practice job interview. At that NickMcKendreetime, I wanted to go into the recording industry, so I did one with the college radio station, WMUL. At the end, the woman I met with said I was hired, I thought I’d just gotten an A on the assignment.” McKendree started out as a board operator, and says he hasn’t looked back since. “It was there that I really got into learning the trade, and it was really a family atmosphere. My experience taught me everything I know.”

McKendree credits his professors for most influencing him as a journalist and pushing him to be a better reporter. Compared to when he was in college, McKendree says of the biggest differences in his reporting style is having to take a broader perspective on a story. “In college, you’re given one assignment. Now, I have to follow a story and forecast where I think it’s going in a few months.” While technology has changed radio reporting in many ways, one of the things McKendree likes best is the ability to record interviews and soundbites from his cell phone. “I can plug something into my phone, and the quality is great. I use Dropbox, so the audio can be edited and aired in a newscast before I’m back in the newsroom.”

McKendree has lived in West Virginia most of his life and says he loves the people around him. “It’s amazing to get calls from local listeners, and have them say thanks for reporting on that story. Its great knowing that you have your hand on the local pulse.” When he’s not on the air, you’ll likely find McKendree out fishing on one of the local lakes. “It’s a therapeutic experience. You can leave all of your troubles or problems behind and you’re out on the water. It’s that escape and that minute where you can step away and breathe.” If McKendree had the opportunity to interview any U.S. president, he says it would be John F. Kennedy. “His vision for America was un-paralleled. He believed that you could do anything you put your mind to, like put a man on the moon.”

Looking ahead, McKendree thinks the internet will continue to play a big role in how we get our information. “You have to be on platforms like Facebook and Twitter to help get information to your listeners.” McKendree also thinks the evolution of podcasts will be great for the industry. “Podcasts will help you flesh out your stories. They will allow you to get more in depth into topics such as the transgender bathroom issue and substance abuse.”

As for giving advice to new reporters, McKendree says it’s important to be versatile. “Don’t go into radio with the mindset that I’m only going to do production. Learn how to do everything, learn how a newsroom works. Learn how people put together a newscast, go out with the promotions team. Be a sponge of knowledge, learn everything that you can.”

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