STLCC-FV The Forum Student Newspaper, March 2013.
“You have to have a sense of humor because you have to be able to laugh off your critics,” Paul Huddleston said as he tossed his hands in the air. “If you start to believe them – that’s when bad things happen.”
In the office of KCFV, St. Louis Community College’s only FCC licensed student radio station, Huddleston talked about his hopes, goals, and new responsibilities. In January, the former FV student accepted the position of general manager at KCFV. He is looking forward to continuing the station’s long tradition of supporting students and offering a welcoming place to experience hands-on broadcasting and communications study.
In high school, Huddleston’s friends noticed his love of music and continuous talking to anyone and everyone within hearing distance of his voice. They suggested that a radio career could be a perfect fit for him. Shortly after enrolling in Florissant Valley’s broadcasting program he realized he had found a new place to call home.
Huddleston worked full-time while attending classes at FV in the early 1990s. He was part of KCFV promotions and production staff while he earned his two-year degree in Mass Communications with an emphasis in broadcasting. He was also an on-air disc jockey known as “Night Crawler” and hosted a Saturday night metal show called “Saturday Night Overdrive.”
“I enjoy the meaning you [can] bring to people. [The DJ is] an extra friend. The guy that’s talking to them while they’re driving home …it’s a very personal medium,” Huddleston said. “You don’t so much think of a TV personality as your friend or your buddy, but the guy you listen to every day on the way home, they’re a friend. That’s kind of neat.”
After working as a KCFV weekend supervisor since 2005, Huddleston applied for the soon-to-be-vacant general manager position. He enjoyed working with the students and saw the new position as an opportunity to expand that aspect.
“I felt I had something to offer in the position,” Huddleston said. “I could offer guidance and encouragement as somebody who had been where the students are.”
KCFV Faculty Advisor Steve Bai said he feels very fortunate and blessed to have some of the best student leaders at KCFV he has ever met. The station is a student-run operation, and he sees Huddleston bringing experience and leadership skills to help and support the students on their career path.
“Paul is just a great person. He is nurturing and loving, funny, smart and can do a lot of things,” Bai said. “I hope and see KCFV becoming more of all the things Paul is and brings.”
The nature of the broadcasting industry is change. Bai said he expects KCFV to continue to be a community radio station for STLCC-FV and the area and was sorry to see former manager Tim Gorry leave.
“I wish Tim the best and I feel a lot of gratitude for what he did at KCFV,” Bai said. “He was instrumental in the growth of the station and the digital and streaming capabilities we have now.”
Former FV student and KCFV Manager Tim Gorry is now employed as a full-time Technical Engineer at Emmis Communications. He ensures that all (non-HD) Emmis St. Louis radio stations stay on the air without technical difficulties, including KSHE, K-Hits, and The Point.
Gorry was an FV art student before leaving to gain valuable “real-world experience” by serving ten years in the Navy. He returned to FV in 2005 and earned a degree in Communications with an emphasis in broadcasting. After graduation, Gorry became the manager of KCFV in 2008 while filling in for the late Diana Kirby, who passed away unexpectedly.
While working as KCFV manager, Gorry was also a part-time board operator at Emmis and earned a BA degree in Communications from Webster University.
“The best part of KCFV was the real world experience it gave me in regard to broadcasting,” Gorry said. “I felt that I could go to any radio station and be a productive member of that station.”
Gorry said he chose radio because of FV Professor Scott Dorough. During an Introduction to Mass Communications class, Dorough offered an extra credit opportunity to anyone willing to read the news on-air at the student radio station. Gorry accepted and found a welcoming place that made him feel “part of something bigger than himself.” Gorry also quickly discovered a use for his engineering skills learned in the Navy as a Radioman and Communications Engineer.
The lasting feeling Gorry will take with him is the people he worked with and in helping them follow their dreams. “You can stand in the way, or you can help. I prefer to help.”
Gorry has moved on to follow his own dreams but offers some encouraging and lasting words to future students and the new manager of KCFV.
“Hang in there. Starting out is never easy, but once you gain momentum – keep moving,” Gorry said. “You will eventually reach your goals and possibly find new ones along the way.”
Scott Dorough, former KCFV student and adjunct professor at FV, and teaches Mass Communications courses including Radio Production. He said he will miss Gorry dearly because the two have become close friends.
“The focus that Paul plans to bring, specifically to campus issues, will be a really nice thing,” Dorough said. “The more the station can focus on its core audience and what’s going on in this specific community [the campus], the better the station will be able to serve its listening audience.”
Dorough believes that Gorry was good at involving the station in the community. Huddleston will also be very capable in the manager’s position because he has a good sense of fostering community as well.
Huddleston sees a lot of opportunities in the community that his predecessor took good care of, and he hopes to continue with that. He also wants to make sure that everyone on the FV campus knows that KCFV exists.
“I want people to know that we’re here and planning on being out and involved with not only the community but with the community as well,” Huddleston said. “I want them to see us as a beneficial part of this campus.”
Huddleston wants students to understand that they can come to KCFV and have fun and learn a lot of things even if they do not plan on pursuing a career in radio. The program can help with many things including, public speaking and learning how to feel less nervous when talking to people or groups of people.
Cave said it was hard to see Gorry leave. He was a mentor and friend to many students and any company that hires him will be lucky to have him. The students are also very happy for Huddleston.
“Paul’s personality makes the environment at KCFV a little brighter. His main concern for the station is seeing the students…are prepared for the real world,” Cave said. “That is important.”
One of the first things Huddleston plans to do is make sure all content played on the air is student produced.
“If you hear something on the air here at KCFV, I want it to come from a student. I want them to have made it and I want it to be their voice you hear. That is what we are here for,” Huddleston said with determination. “If someone else can do it why not our students.”
One invention stands alone as the first electronic medium to collectively bring people, their words and worlds together – the radio. According to the Radio Hall of Fame, the power of Radio has always depended upon diverse talents and many kinds of genius.
The radio media industry has seen many gifted broadcasters throughout its history. Some have a unique and individual style that made them radio legends, but even radio royalty had to start somewhere. Famed radio disc jockey Dr. Demento started out as a classical music major, but said his work at the student radio station is what had the most influence on his life.
Since 1972, many former FV students have followed their dreams to a broadcasting career including, Dan Gray, KPLR St. Louis news anchor and reporter, and Guy Favazz, KSHE 95 FM disc jockey and assistant program director.
The late Wolfman Jack, legendary disc jockey and television personality, studied at the National Academy of Broadcasting in Washington D.C. before going on to create broadcasting history. In a past interview with Joel Samuel, the howling and raspy-voiced DJ conveyed that no matter how computerized the radio industry becomes, the soul of radio will always be its human element – the person behind the microphone.
Huddleston believes strongly in helping students develop their own personality and style at what they are doing.
“I don’t want to churn out cookie-cutter DJs,” Huddleston said. “I want to turn out individuals that have their own personality. Their own way of doing things and yet are confident, professional and qualified.”
Huddleston wants to begin building a legacy where he is seen as encouraging and cared enough to help people do the best they could, as well as, recognized as an outgoing individual with a deep sense of humor.
During Huddleston’s time as a student at, KCFV he developed life-long friendships and an extended family. He wants to give the students the opportunity to experience the same sense of belonging he felt and has kept through the years.
“I want students to come away feeling like this is a family. Like this is home,” Huddleston said. “No matter where they go this is where they got their start. I want them to look back fondly on what they learned.”