The voice of Lindenwood: Calhoun lands dream job
BELLEVILLE, Mar 09, 2013 (Belleville News-Democrat - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The face might not be familiar, but the voice of the director of the new Communications Department at Lindenwood University-Belleville certainly is.
Tom Calhoun, the arena voice of the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League for the last 25 years, has more recently been the stadium announcer of the Gateway Grizzlies minor league baseball club and has been a host of radio shows over the years on WIBV, KXOK and KMOX radio.
He calls his new post a dream job.
"Lindenwood has had a very successful communications program in St. Charles for many years," Calhoun said. "And we really hope to repeat that success in Belleville.
"We've got a great group of instructors, first rate television and radio broadcasting equipment and just wonderful facilities. That's the thing about this Belleville campus, if the Lindenwood folks decide they're going to do something, you're can be sure they're going to do it first class."
A graduate from Belleville Township High School West in 1968 and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 1972, Calhoun said the communications industry has changed immensely since he broke into the business. But he said he enjoys watching it grow and working with talented, young students.
"When I started out you had to be able to do a little bit of everything," Calhoun said. "You didn't just do a radio show. You had to carry your own equipment if you were doing a sports broadcast. You had to be able to set it up yourself. And when the game started you were your own stats guy. The more things you were able to do, the more likely you were able to find work.
"I really enjoy the enthusiasm of the young people who come in here with a chance to make their dreams come true. And we want to make sure they have all the skills they need to do whatever job is thrown at them."
These days broadcasters often have to know how to write for the Internet, blogs and do graphic design work. A native of Millstadt, Calhoun runs an advertising company, which has helped him learn the business side of broadcasting.
Lindenwood Vice President Jerry Bladdick said the Belleville campus offers bachelors of arts degrees in several communications fields: public relations and corporate communications, interactive media and web design, mass communications and a degree in mass communications with emphasis in sports information.
He believes Calhoun is the perfect choice to get the new Communications Department established.
"Tom's leadership, experience, along with his dedication in assisting and developing the skills of our students, has made him a perfect fit within the university community," Bladdick said. "He is so passionate about helping others and growing our program, I could not think of a better person to help the university launch this exciting and innovative educational opportunity."
With the Communications Department comes a new online-only radio station and a planned television station, Bladdick said.
Lindenwood started off its radio station by offering live broadcasts of school sports in the fall. While students will eventually take over the work entirely, during those first productions, Calhoun did the play-by-play and students got the opportunity to work as his color commentators.
The online station plays music during the day and is currently available by going to lindenwood.belleville.edu and clicking on the icon for "The LYNK at the bottom right of the page. Bladdick said Lindenwood leaders are searching for an over-the-air transmitter to allow them to get on the local airwaves. The school is working with the city of Belleville to create a local access television station.
The programs and facilities will help the school produce ready-to-work radio and television professionals.
"I've been very fortunate in the communications industry," Calhoun said. "And I am very excited to see what Lindenwood has done with its beautiful Belleville campus. So I am excited to be a part of it and be able to give something back to my community and to my field."
Contact reporter Scott Wuerz at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 618-239-2626.
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