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The Eberly College Magazine, Winter 2007

The Eberly College Magazine, Winter 2007

Dispatches from the

Dispatches from the DiasporaBroadcastingfrom theLeft Coastby Matty StaudtIt’s West Virginia, it’s West Virginia, the pride of everyMountaineer… It’s a Monday morning after anotherimpressive Mountaineer win and morning radio airwaves arefilled with the sounds of the Pride of West Virginia.A 34-year-old, class of 1995 graduate in the EnglishDepartment’s Creative Writing Program is on the microphonetalking about how great the Mounties are this season. Thismight be at a radio station in Charleston, but it’s not. All rightthen, a station in Morgantown. Nope. A station in SanFrancisco??? Jumping Jerry West, really?It’s true. I am Executive Producer for the San Francisco BayArea’s number one morning radio and nighttime TV show“The Sarah and No Name Show.” With over 400,000 peoplelistening each morning, it’s a long way from my first radiostation in Keyser, WV. So how does a kid from West Virginiamake it in broadcasting on the left coast?I started as a teenager, playing commercials on the radio forhigh school girls basketball games at a barely audible AMstation in Keyser, WV. One night a DJ at the sister classic rockstation WQZK got sick and the next thing I knew I was aclassic rock DJ, even though I didn’t know that Lynyrd Skynyrdwasn’t a guy.Long story short, after paying for beer and books doing radioat WCLG in Morgantown (anybody remember Matt McQ?), Igot my degree in creative writing and was ready to take on theworld as a writer or famous DJ, but more importantly, get outof West Virginia! I was sure I would leave the mountains andstereotypes for good.Three years later, I was working at a country music station inParkersburg, WV (WNUS) and doing no writing. I wascertain I would never leave my home state and that my bigplans were nothing more than just dreams. That’s when Ifound out about a producer job in Washington, D.C. with thenationally syndicated G. Gordon Liddy show. Not knowingany better I got in my car, drove to D.C., and talked my wayinto the job even though I had never been a producer in mylife. What a break! I had made it out of West Virginia andthought I’d never look back.After a year in D.C., I got a gig producing a morning show inNYC! I had made it to the big time. My boyhood dreams ofbig market radio had come true. I was rubbing elbows withcelebrities, writing, and I was out of West Virginia forgood.That was about the time I really started thinking aboutthe place that I was from and I was so anxious to hide myheritage. Maybe it was because my New York air name wasMatty Moonshine, but I realized that West Virginia was not sobad after all. In fact it was my home and I was going to beproud of it. Not just proud, but downright boastful!Flash forward a few years, and here in San Francisco sits a guywith a giant flying WV tattoo on his forearm, who wears anddisplays his WVU gear for all to see, and talks Mountaineersports to an area that before his arrival barely knew a thingabout West Virginia. I realized along the way that I am where Iam and doing what I’m doing because of the things I hadlearned growing up in West Virginia.We are from a state that gets a bad rap in a lot of ways. Yes,Appalachians are the last minority it seems acceptable to makefun of. But we have the most beautiful state and a trulyadmirable university. I want everyone within the sound of myvoice to know how impressive my home is and share withthem what it truly means to be a Mountaineer. I don’t knowwhy when you live somewhere, no matter where it is, all youcan do is think about leaving. But once you do, all you canthink about is coming home.Dispatches from the Diaspora is written by WVU alumni who are living outsidethe boundaries of West Virginia, but who remain committed to WVU and theEberly College and find creative and thoughtful ways to stay connected.Arts & Sciences | 28 | Fall 2007

A Student’s Eye View:COMING HOMEby Charles D. Dusch, Jr.They say you can’t go home again. True,when I returned to WVU in 2003 it was afar different place than when I graduatedin 1981. I returned to pursue mygraduate education after a very successfulcareer as an Air Force aviator. It is a bitintimidating to return to school in yourforties after having been out of it for solong. My fears were unfounded. Thereare no “old” or “young” Mountaineershere—only Mountaineers. The week Iarrived, interim Dean Rudolph Almasypinned a “flying WV” on my sport coatas he welcomed me to the College, andmy advisor in History, Dr. Ron Lewis,instantly put me at ease. The HistoryDepartment has been incredible. Everyprofessor pushed me to new heights andstretched my capacity to think andanalyze. Moreover, they have allowed meto pursue topics that interest me. That Ihave flourished is due to theirencouragement and support, as well asteaching and research assistantships,fellowships, and awards.Yet coming home was almost accidental.At the end of my Air Force career, I wasvery happy teaching at the U.S. Air ForceAcademy, and I had several publicationsalready under my belt. My departmentchair came to me to discuss my post-AirForce plans. He thought I was a naturalat teaching and wanted me to pursue agraduate degree. He was an Ivy Leaguerand he recommended several programsto me. My other colleagues thereencouraged me to enroll in their schoolsin the Washington D. C. area.My wife and I screened potentialuniversities and their communities. Wewanted to make sure that no matter howgood the academic program was ourfamily would have a safe, nurturingenvironment combined with goodschools and affordable housing. We werevery picky.I always kept up with WVU through theAlumni Magazine, the Eberly CollegeMagazine, and History Newsletter, and Iwas impressed with WVU’s emphasis onstudents, its Greatness Campaign, andthe new facilities. While browsing theWVU website (listening to a footballgame on the Internet!), I noticed that myold advisor, Dr. Steve McCluskey, was stillteaching History. I emailed him to say“hello” and to ask him about returning toWVU for grad school—did he thinkanyone would want to take me as astudent? He encouraged me to apply,which I did. My wife, who’s fromFlorida, looked into Morgantownschools, the community, and real estate.Both of us had already risked our lives onthe Beltway and I-95, and frankly wewere not enthusiastic about commutingthere. In addition, the prospect offinding decent housing around D.C. orthe Ivy League on a retired officer’s paywas disheartening.As acceptance and rejection letterscame in, we began to “rack and stack”programs and communities. Itelephoned prospective departments, andit readily became clear that the bestprogram with the greatest opportunities,the most supportive faculty, and the mostnurturing environment was also theclosest to home. Twenty-two years aftergraduating, I returned to WVU as astudent—again! It has been one of themost rewarding experiences of my life.No program could have given me theopportunities that WVU has. It has nopeer in that regard. I am very grateful tothe History Department, my fellowgraduate students, and the Eberly Collegeof Arts and Sciences for all they havedone for me. It is clear the GreatnessCampaign worked. Greatness is anattitude put into practice. Truly, there isno place like home.Arts & Sciences | 29 | Fall 2007

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