Posted on Tuesday, October 31, 2023
“It was perfect for a young child...or college students in radio trying to survive another semester.” Jim Boyd ’79 reflects on station mascot Phred (Fred) the Wunderhorse, a memorable stuffed animal who lived at the campus radio station for several years in the ’70s.
Today, Boyd is practicing many of the skills he learned while at Westminster, including work focused on making the community around him a better place. The Office of Alumni Engagement at Westminster caught up with Boyd, a speech-broadcasting major, living in Iowa.
What kind of jobs have you held since graduating from Westminster in 1979?
Prior to 2016, I had spent my entire professional career following graduation from Westminster in radio news. I worked 20 years at WMT in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and the next 15 at WHO in Des Moines—20 of those 35 years as the stations’ news directors. It was apparent that the countless number of hours in the broadcasting program at Westminster WKPS (1975-79) had an impact on me. The hands-on experience at the station, along with the freedom for the students to run it, was a tremendous learning experience that prepared me for my chosen profession. It was also a heck of a lot of fun and why many classmates from that era get together for an annual reunion via Zoom during the holidays.
What were some of the advantages of your time spent working at the campus radio station?
Being part of a student-run radio station provided a lot of opportunities. The student management was able to propose and received permission from the College to keep the radio station on the air over one of the student breaks in the College calendar. Normally, the station signed off the air when the students went home. This experiment allowed for the station to remain on the air, provide more experience to the students, and, in a small way, continue to provide a service to the New Wilmington community.
Tell us about your current profession.
I have worked for Optimist International based in St. Louis, Mo., since the spring of 2016 as a remote employee in the position of Director of Strategic Growth. Optimist International is a service organization established in 1919 with chapters in North America, Africa, Europe and Asia. The mission statement is very applicable in these times: “By providing hope and positive vision, Optimists bring out the best in youth, our communities and ourselves.” Members develop projects in their community aimed at enhancing the lives of young people while affording themselves opportunities for personal and professional growth.
What do you do in your spare time?
I still have a couple of years to go before retirement and am fortunate that the four youngest of the grandchildren (11, 9, 8 and 4 years old ) live within a 30-minute drive. So, softball, baseball, basketball and hockey keep my wife and I busy on weekends.
Besides Phred the Wunderhorse, do you have a moment from your time at WC that you’ll never forget?
There was the annual Kappa Delta dance-a-thon at which I was able to DJ for a couple of years during my time at Westminster. I got carried away one year and while dancing behind the control board, I popped my knee. A couple of hours later I was having my knee drained at the hospital in New Castle while trying to explain to my Dad why I needed my health insurance information.
If you are a broadcasting alumni interested in joining the WKPS virtual reunions via Zoom, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Top photo: Jim Boyd with his granddaughter Scarlett and Bridget the Cavachon; Middle photo: Jim Boyd, center, in the campus radio station music library with Bruce Haines ’77, left, and Wayne Weisel ’78; Bottom photo: Phred The Wunderhorse on one of the group’s reunion Zoom calls.