Several New Castle Career Center graduates have discovered success in the broadcast industry, but Eric Marcum and Oliver Tompkins have unique stories about how their Career Center experiences prepared them for their current careers. Eric serves as the general manager and content director of WSM, which is the radio home of the Grand Ole Opry. Oliver is a news producer for WANE 15 CBS, which is a Nexstar-affiliate news station.
Traditional Path Leads To Nashville Dream Job
Eric began his broadcasting career at WKPW, the radio station produced by the Career Center’s Broadcasting Program. He admits he wasn’t the strongest student in the class, but persevered and learned valuable skills along the way.
“I learned that a strong work ethic can quickly be recognized and rewarded. As a student at the Career Center, I was challenged to apply myself in a professional work environment for the first time in my life,” Eric shared. “Until the opportunity came to develop my skillset in the broadcasting program, I didn’t know my full potential. I gained the confidence to learn, hands on.”
Eric credits the Career Center for helping develop the personality and passion used daily in his current career. He fondly remembers winning the Station of the Year award for the IASB state contest.
“That was actually the first time that I realized that doing this is a fun job that can also be very, very rewarding and you can find a lot of success,” he noted.
After graduation, Eric worked at some local radio stations before moving to Nashville with his wife. A flood had just devastated Nashville and there was a need for people to help at the Grand Ole Opry. WSM is one of the few radio stations that still carries a live show. He notes that the station has been ongoing with the Grand Old Opry for a century.
Eric shares this advice with students considering the broadcast program: “If you have an interest in broadcasting, even if your professional compass doesn’t have a direction just yet, give the program a shot. You may excel in production, on-air, copywriting… the sky is the limit. Enjoy every minute!”
Culinary Arts Provides Time Management Skills For News Producer
Oliver Tompkins took a different path into a broadcasting career. Oliver started out in the Culinary Arts Program at the Career Center, developing skills in time management, flexibility, precision, collaboration, open-mindedness, and diligence.
Staff members and friendships were a valuable aspect of Oliver’s Career Center experience. Oliver uses his sharpened cooking talents to cook better for himself and others, all while practicing food-service safety standards.
“I chose to pursue Culinary Arts at the Career Center because I knew the program would benefit both my everyday life and my education,” Oliver explained. “Transferable job skills are extremely important, and I found it easy to pick them up at the Career Center.”
Oliver graduated early from Purdue University and found a high-profile job as a news producer, implementing the time management skills learned at the Career Center.
“My work is rewarding because I currently get to help people by keeping them connected to what’s happening in their communities – whether that be road closures, power outages, dangerous situations, or other need-to-know happenings,” Oliver added. “I still plan to make food a part of my career, whether that takes the form of me becoming a food critic or author, or perhaps I could even secure a position at the Food Network, which ironically was a dream of mine when I was young!”
Oliver shares this advice for those considering the Culinary Arts Program: “Take what you do in the Career Center seriously, because you will absolutely benefit from that experience. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. At the end of the day, rest easy knowing you’re doing something that you can use to fuel your future. I am very grateful for my time spent in the Career Center- it’s something I will never forget.”
For more information about any of the 19 programs available through the New Castle Career Center, visit nccareercenter.org.