See What SUNY Alumni are Accomplishing This Week!
In addition to our regular Alumni Profile series, we hear about great things our graduates are doing around the country. Why not share them?
In terms of famous alums, former president Millard Fillmore was the school’s first chancellor, astronaut Ellen S. Baker graduated from there (which omits them from being made fun of by Michigan), Wolf Blitzer of CNN fame, Terry Gross, the host and producer of NPR’s Fresh Air, noted mainstream indie film producer Harvey Weinstein, and jazz great Charles Mingus are also all alumni.
Based on data from alumni reporting, seven SUNY schools have been named among the top return on investment in the nation.
SUNY Fredonia alumnus Jud Heussler works his way through the ranks of a radio host
In high school, Jud Heussler knew he wanted a career in radio. He was a big fan of Buffalo’s Top 40 music station, Kiss 98.5. He went to the annual December “Kissmas Bash” concert for the first time in 2006. He had no idea, however, that in just a few years that station would hire him – and he’d be on stage and part of the show.
Heussler joined Fredonia Radio and got his own show his freshman year. He also started his own Top 40 show and climbed the station’s ranks, eventually becoming general manager his senior year. He helped get the station’s morning show into syndication in Buffalo, and was honored at the Intercollegiate Broadcast Systems National Conference, earning its “Best On-Air Personality” award two years in a row. He also earned an internship with Entercom Radio, the parent company of Kiss 98.5, and got the attention of The New York Times, which included Fredonia Radio in a piece on today’s top college stations.
“There wasn’t anyone in that (Communication) department who didn’t help me in some way,” he insists. “Whether it was taking a class or getting advice, they were very accommodating. They gave me the flexibility I needed to succeed, especially when I had a chance to start my career before graduation.”
Today, Jud – a name made for radio – is one of the young stars at Entercom. He currently serves as Kiss 98.5’s Music Director and afternoon drive host. He’s also seen all over Western New York, working at live remotes, night clubs and major concerts. Some of his early highlights include a limousine interview with pop sensation Carly Rae Jepsen (who had the #1 song of 2012), and hanging out with Ed Sherran (nominated for a 2013 Grammy). He’s also been part of two Kissmas Bashes, pumping up the crowd between sets, interviewing the stars and, as he puts it, “being famous for a night.”
“It’s a crazy job where I get to work with some very famous people,” he explains. “It’s so surreal, especially being a Western New Yorker. Six years ago I was at (Kissmas Bash) as a fan. Now, here I am, working for Kiss…organizing the show…on that stage. I’ve even had people come up to me in stores and want to take a photo with me. It’s strange, but very cool.”
This success story was adapted from the SUNY Fredonia website.
Maxwell is the Coordinator of Digital Engagement for The State University of New York.