This is the tenth in a series of stories heralding the many great people of the University of Findlay and the ways they support our mission of preparing students for meaningful lives and productive careers.
Doug Jenkins has many family members who are Oiler alumni, and that, he said, was the reason he initially didn’t want to come to University of Findlay. His father, his uncle, and his aunt had been students at UF, and, subsequently, Jenkins was “dead set” against it for himself. “I wanted to do my own thing,” he said. “But my dad said to at least take a visit to campus, and when I did I found that I liked it.”
Once he became a student, however, what he found he did not like was accounting. It was a class that, as a business administration major, he had to take as part of the curriculum. It was at around that time, as luck would have it, that he came across a flyer for a “DJ with no experience needed” at UF’s radio station. “I had always enjoyed listening to the radio, so I thought I’d give it a try,” Jenkins explained. “I never thought it would become a major, let alone a career.” But, he continued, it, indeed, turned into a major rather quickly. Just weeks into his freshman year, he switched focus to communications, and by his sophomore year he was running the WLFC station. It seems that the bug had bitten him early and convincingly.
There was something other than radio that came with the UF communications package for Jenkins, something that he thought even further from a possibility for him – television. He felt pretty confident and comfortable with radio from the start, but TV made him feel a little more uneasy. But, he said, true to Findlay’s zest for instructing its students via firsthand experience, when he got involved with UFTV and “most of the communications stuff that was available,” he was immersed in it and learned the ins and outs very quickly.
Jenkins ran the radio station for two and half years as a student, and left UF two credits short of graduating for a job that was already waiting for him due to the extensive knowledge and experience he gained at Findlay. “I like to tell people I went pro early, like some athletes do,” he said. “I got a job pretty much right out of college doing morning radio for WDOH in Delphos, Ohio. I ended up doing play-by-play for just about every sport there was to cover there. High school volleyball, softball, football, you name it. It was a good experience.” He spent another three years there and was hired at Clear Channel in Lima where he was eventually asked to also do some news reporting. “I didn’t like it at first, but I am really competitive and Lima is a really competitive news environment as well. I didn’t want to look like I didn’t know what I was doing, and really wanted to make it work.” He channeled his education from UF and ended up spending five years as the news director there. It went so well that in his last year, the station was named the top small news operation in Ohio. “I’m really proud of that,” he said.
He rounded out his career with an eight and a half year news director/morning radio stint at the WFIN/WKXA radio station in Findlay. During this time he earned the two credits he needed to secure his undergraduate degree from UF, but it was, again, recalling what he learned there some ten years prior that allowed him to adapt to changes at the station. “As video on the internet and Facebook live came around, I already kind of had an idea how to make that work on the radio station’s page and such,” he explained. “It’s a little crazy that I remembered how to edit and so on, but I’m convinced that it’s because of the hands-on training I got so early at UF. It stuck.”
Just within the last year, Jenkins decided he wanted to try something different for a career. The on-call hours of reporting the news coupled with the thought that he had “done about everything he could in radio” to that point, coerced him into becoming the membership and events manager for the Findlay Chamber of Commerce. But he said, he couldn’t let radio and UF go entirely. “About four years ago, I found out that a radio station advisor was needed for WLFC, “he explained. So that was and is the ‘full circle’ at UF, and the only part I still do. I always loved college radio, and we have great students at UF who are fun to work with and teach the ropes to, while at the same time giving them the freedom to learn on their own like I had.”
You can follow Doug as he does an Instagram takeover on the University of Findlay Alumni and Friends Instagram page @OilerAlumni during this Homecoming and Family Weekend! “You’ll love the fall on campus,” Jenkins said. “Whether you’re alumni or otherwise, walking down the Cory Street Mall when the leaves are beginning to turn is beautiful. Homecoming is always fun to be around.”