BOONE, N.C. — Alumnus Wayne Sumner ’75, a 2012 Outstanding Service Award recipient, was on-site lending support and equipment when Appalachian State University’s new mobile TV studio made its debut Thursday, Sept. 3. The AppTV crew used the truck to film the livestream of Appalachian’s third annual Founders Day.
This wasn’t Sumner’s first Appalachian rodeo: Sumner was a charter member of 90.5 WASU-FM, the university’s student-run radio station, and one of the first on the air when the station began broadcasting in April 1972.
Today, WASU broadcasts from the Wayne L. Sumner Studio in the George G. Beasley Media Complex. Recently, Sumner gave WASU a framed copy of an authentic 45 rpm (revolutions per minute) vinyl record of Chicago’s “Beginnings” — the first song the station aired.
According to Rob Gelber, general manager of AppTV — Appalachian’s student-run television station, Sumner’s equipment and technical support for the Founders Day bell ringing ceremony were crucial. Streaming the event was “beyond AppTV’s capabilities at the time,” Gelber said. “We’re still designing and building the new studio truck’s infrastructure.
“Without Wayne, the livestream and multicam production simply wouldn’t have happened,” he continued. “He was especially kind and gracious with his equipment, and more importantly, his time. You can tell he loves App State and the learning opportunities we provide to our students.”
While on-site for the event, Sumner took time out to answer the following questions:
- What made you choose a radio career as a student?
I worked at a radio station in high school and I attended a technical school in Wilmington. I enjoyed the electronic side but decided to head on up to the hills from Eastern North Carolina. When I got here my freshman year, we started WASU and I auditioned to be on the air. Luckily, I got the 7–10 p.m. spot, and on the very first day I went on the air in Chapell Wilson Hall. But I will tell you — most broadcasters will tell you — once it’s in your blood, you’ll always love broadcasting. And that’s me. It’s not what puts food on my table, but it’s certainly what puts a smile on my face.
- How does it feel to be back today?
The energy level is 110%. I’ve been here since we started at 9 a.m. and it’s 3:15 p.m. I could go another eight hours doing this. It’s a lot of fun to be involved in the very first production of AppTV’s production truck. I was honored to be able to work in this truck today. It’s a great addition not only to the educational side of AppTV but to the community side. AppTV will now be able to do a lot of community programs that otherwise would not be seen. It’s a great asset. Rob and his staff have done a great job acquiring this truck. It worked great today and only better things are going to happen. They have a lot of plans, a lot of dreams for this truck. It’s a huge addition.
- You’ve been generous to help out here today and you have contributed to App State in many other ways. How important is it to give back to the university?
I think first you have to look at all the people who helped you get to where you are. Wherever you are, people helped you get there. They gave back to help and support you in so many different ways. I see how many people made a difference in my life. I owe them for what they gave me. I don’t need to take all that energy that was given to me and keep it. I want to share what was given to me, and if there’s any talent I might have that I can share, I’m all about it. It’s important to share it. It can be monetary, but it doesn’t have to be — it can be your talents or any other areas you can give back in. What I’m doing today — this is not monetary, it’s just a love of broadcasting. I’m so happy to assist some great people from AppTV to make it happen.
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About the College of Fine and Applied Arts
Appalachian State University’s College of Fine and Applied Arts is a dynamic and innovative group of seven academic departments, bringing together a variety of perspectives, experiences and real-world education to provide unique opportunities for student success. The college has more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate majors. Its departments are Applied Design, Art, Communication, Military Science and Leadership, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment, and Theatre and Dance. Learn more at https://faa.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls nearly 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.