WUSF: The end of an era



For five decades WUSF has provided an outlet for growth and experience for students, as well as informative and educational programming for their viewers. On Sunday at 11:59:59 p.m., the station will go dark, according to WUSF-TV General Manager JoAnn Urofsky.

Kim Thurman is a former student who interned at WUSF during her time at USF.

“My last semester of college I interned at WUSF,” Thurman said. “I did a little bit of everything. I was in radio for a couple of weeks and in TV production for a number of weeks as well.”

Thurman was able to take the knowledge and experience she gained during her time as an intern and transition that into a position as an employee of WUSF-TV.

“When I was graduating, they offered me a position as a part-time employee,” Thurman said. “It took a little while, probably around six months, until I was hired part-time in June as the assistant editor in TV. So I prepped everything before the actual editor got to it and made sure that he had everything that he needed.”

Thurman is not the only person to have interned at WUSF before beginning a career in journalism. Larry Goodman interned before his graduation in 1967. He said he considers his time interning and taking courses with WUSF to have been some of the most valuable moments of his academic career.

“I recall a TV Broadcasting class as a student, around 1967, in which we practiced giving news reports as well as a technical class in lighting,” Goodman said. “It will be sad for the students who never had these valuable opportunities and sad to no longer be able to broadcast ‘University Beat’ and interesting news on the latest University research, athletic advancement, extraordinary students.”

Urofsky said internship opportunities for students will still remain plentiful, event without an active TV studio and station.

“Internships will not be limited moving forward,” Urofsky said. “In fact, we have more interns than ever this semester and are planning for even more to join us next semester.

“So, we are pretty enthusiastic about all of the opportunities that we are going to have for students. Even radio is not just audio anymore, it incorporates videos now too. We will need video for our websites and reports, so we are still looking for students who want video experience. “

As far as what the closure means for employees of WUSF-TV, Urofsky said some employees, such as herself, will remain on in other capacities within the station, but others are being offered training in resume building and interviewing skills for their future endeavors. 

“Employees have been transitioning out on their own and we did have some layoffs earlier,” Urofsky said. “Not all of the employees are being accommodated within the university, although the university has been very accommodating. They have been able to have access to career counseling, resume writing and interviewing skills.”

For what her future entails, Urofsky, who has been in her position since 2002 said, “We have two radio stations and we have the studios, so we will be transitioning the WUSF TV production studios into ones for radio and other projects both within and outside of the university.”

Goodman said he wishes something different could have been done to salvage the TV station.

“Even if it is going to be used as a lab, that is great, but it had so much more to gain by staying open in so many ways,” Goodman said.

For employees of the TV station, such as Thurman, there is one very important message to convey to the TV station’s audience.

“It definitely is the end of an era,” Thurman said. “The programming that we had on our channel was special and I think our viewers know that, so my message to them would just be a giant thank you. It really was all about the viewers and we could not have done it for as long as we did without them.”