Broadcaster and musician Burr Beard is entering the Public Media Masters program at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.
It is a 12-month graduate program jointly administered by the School of Media Arts and Studies and WOUB Public Media, which is comprised of AM, FM and TV stations. The program has been ongoing since 1981 and has trained over 130 professionals.
Director of Studies Dr. Arthur Cromwell runs the program. Cromwell is also associate professor in the School of Media Arts and Studies. His areas of expertise include the history of broadcasting, television genre history, African-American broadcast history and documentary history.
Beard is one of four participants; the others are Abbie Doyle, Blake Drummond and Lydia Williams. Each will work on specific projects keyed to their interests; Beard’s include Appalachian culture, “old time” music and coal mine history.
The students receive a work stipend plus tuition waivers for two semesters and a summer session. They will also work 15-hour weekly jobs with the WOUB Public Media stations.
“I want to move from my radio production and management skills to digital video production, nonfiction storytelling and documentary production, as well as historical media research and communications theory,” Beard explained.
Beard began his radio career at WYEP(FM) in Pittsburgh in 1978. Over the past 30 years, he has worked in public radio stations over the past 30+ years as a program director and station manager in Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina.
Beard is also a hammer dulcimer player and plays in the folk-world music band Devilish Merry.