The annual WOSU holiday party included a wonderful potluck with staff, board and friends, who brought boxes of canned goods to contribute to the Mid-Ohio food bank as entry to the party. It was also an opportunity to honor a few of our own. We have two awards honoring staff, who are nominated by their colleagues and then chosen by a committee of past winners and board members. The first is called the I. Keith Tyler Award, named for the long time educator and trailblazer in educational radio at Ohio State. This year’s award went to our 30 year veteran as TV Station Manager, Ed Clay, who is retiring this summer.
The second award was formed just a few years ago after I learned about the career of Robert C. Higgy (pictured at right). We decided a technology achievement award was most appropriate for our organization. The 2008 honoree is Mike Meadows, Chief Engineer for WOSU Radio, who was instrumental in assuring the technological success of our new radio studio complex. We were blessed to have join us that evening Mr. Higgy’s daughter, who lives in Athens.
Let me tell you just a few things about the amazing Mr. Higgy. A Columbus boy, he was just 16 years old when his electrical communications expertise was put to work. He was called by Ohio State to help teach WWI soldiers about communications. By the time he graduated from OSU, he had put WOSU AM on the air (1922). It was one of a handful of educational stations on the air in the early 20s and the station was the first in Columbus. It originally had the call letters WEAO, which stood for Willing Eager Athletic Ohio.
By the late 20s, he had wired the campus to broadcast 300 lectures every school year and began radio broadcasts of the Buckeyes from Ohio Stadium. Higgy went on to put our FM station and TV station on the air, before retiring in the early 1960s after 42 years of service.
Robert Higgy’s legacy will live with us forever. And I just wanted you to know a bit about one of the giants whose shoulders we stand on today at WOSU.