Interview with Jake Timm, 04/27/2017

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
Nick Barbeau, Interviewer | uwocs_Jake_Timm_04272017_uc.mp3
Campus Stories Oral History Project (UWO Audio Series 51) |


Nick Barbeau: Today is April 27th, 2017. The time is 8:35 am. We are in the UW Oshkosh Alumni Center. This interview is for the Campus Stories Oral History Project and the interview should take around an hour or more. My name is Nick Barbeau and I'm here interviewing, you want to say your name.

Jake Timm: Jake Timm.

NB: And that's what we got, let's get started. So could you tell me about your childhood, Jake?

JT: Sure. I grew up in a small town in Waupaca County, Manawa, which is about 45 minutes north, slightly west of here. I first lived out in the country up until I was about 12 years old. My parents got divorced and then my mom moved to town and then my dad moved to town so we lived out in the country when I was young. And eventually after my parents split up we moved to town so that was kind of 1:00different, that was a new experience for me. I never lived in town before so that was kind of cool to have friends close by, it was a little different dynamic. I have a younger sister who is 3 years younger than me, we're pretty close, and my parents are both still alive and around and I live in Manawa still, I drive here every day for work so it's kind of a commute but it's kind of the way it is when you're from a small town if you want to live in a small town and be close to your parents and be close to your family when you have any kids of your own and what not then you have to make a decision on whether or not you want to live where want to live and drive or if you want to be far enough away from babysitters and things like that, that eventually you have to make that decision. But yeah, nothing super remarkable about my childhood. I was, just pretty typical. Growing up in a small town in Wisconsin out in the country.

NB: So how was your relationship with your parents would you say?

JT: Great. Always has been good, still is good to this day. My dad lives a half 2:00mile away from me in town. My mom lives 3 or 4 miles out in the country, she is remarried and lives out towards Iola out in the country. Good relationship with both my parents.

NB: Oh that's great to hear. And with your sister, good as well?

JT: Yeah, yup. My sister lives out in the country a little bit closer to New London. Has a daughter, married a high school friend of mine, a guy I graduated with. Yeah, our family is all still, and my wife's parents are all still within 5, 10 miles of where we live now. And her sister lives down in Iowa, excuse me, in Florida with her husband and then her brother lives down in Iowa so her siblings are a little further away but our parents and our support system is like right there. So it's good for us.

NB: Oh that's great.


JT: Yeah it helps because we have 3 young daughters. So, it helps when you have young kids to have your parents around.

NB: Yeah I bet, so where did you go to high school and how was your experience like there?

JT: Yeah I went to high school in Manawa, the name of the high school is Little Wolf High School. There is a township right outside of Manawa that's named Little Wolf and that's what, that's the township the high school is named for. I went to high school right there, really small. Manawa is like 1300 people, so it's a really small town. And then the high school, when I was in high school it had like 300 kids in it, in the high school, not in the district. But, had a great experience there. I felt like going through and having talked to a lot of people, that when I came here, this was like a big city. Compared to where I, you know, I hadn't lived in Milwaukee or Madison or anywhere else before so living, coming to live here and being here was like going to a big city for me compared to someone who comes from Milwaukee, who lives in Milwaukee, who grew 4:00up in Milwaukee and then moves here to Oshkosh it's kind of like the opposite, you're kind of going backwards. My experience in high school was good, played sports, was in band, was on Homecoming court and Prom court and all that stuff and was just really involved on student council and class president, I did all that. You know, I just tried to be involved in as much stuff as I possibly.

NB: So you were really busy all the time?

JT: I was busy, yeah, you know, there was always something going on, I was always, you know. I played football all 4 years of high school but I think that was the only sport that I played all 4 years, otherwise I would jump around from baseball, to golf, to track, to whatever else, you know, whatever other sport kind of interested me at the time. I didn't really have like a, you know, I wasn't so good at sports that I had to just focus on one, I just enjoyed doing it. I was pretty involved as a kid growing up in high school and I think it kind of carried over into being here and being enrolled here and the kind of stuff 5:00that I did outside my major and the organizations I was involved in.

NB: That's awesome, how did you hear about UW Oshkosh?

JT: So me and a friend of mine, when we took our, I think it was when we took our ACT and I don't know how it is now with high school kids but when we were in high school you had to go to a site and take it at your high school. And I don't remember, I can't remember what it was that maybe we had to come here and take our ACT or what exactly the situation was. We came here on campus and took our ACT and we got done early, earlier than some others and we kind of got out and we were waiting for the ride back or whatever had happened. And we were walking around campus and looking around and I knew he was coming here to play baseball the next year. So he was like, yeah I've been here, I can show you some of the stuff and we can go walk around and I just really liked it. One of the big 6:00things that convinced me to come here was the Radio-TV-Film program. When I got into talk to an advisor, this was the only college that I applied to, I didn't apply anywhere else I was just kind of like this seems like a good fit for me, it's far enough from home but it's still close and it's got the program that I want and all that stuff. I went to my first convocation as a Radio-TV-Film major and some of the people who were seniors then were sitting in front of me and I was wearing some kind of a jersey, I don't remember. And they were like, oh do you like sports? And I'm like yeah, I wanted to work in sports broadcasting. And they were like oh well, come with us, we'll show you how. So from right there, my first convocation as a freshman it was like, I was involved in that group and that's what I wanted to do. I don't know how that works with other majors or anything like that but with Radio-TV-Film, and you know, it's really easy to 7:00just do extra stuff, there's always other projects whether it's the radio station or you want to be in film society and or you really want to be involved in video production from a news or sports standpoint. It's just really easy to be involved in that major and have extra stuff to do. And that's kind of what I was used to was having a lot to do, so that kind of worked out.

NB: So you knew going into college that you wanted to be a Radio-TV-Film major?

JT: When I came in, the first time I talked to my advisor I was positive that they were gonna tell me that I should pursue a journalism degree because I knew wanted to do broadcasting and sports and I really wanted to do play by play for baseball and football and stuff like that and when they told me that you can do that here, I was like yeah that's what I want to do. But in my first advising meeting, when I was explaining to my advisor what I wanted to do eventually, she said well it sounds like you want to do more of a Radio-TV-Film major and a journalism minor maybe, so that's how I started out. I wound up leaving the 8:00Journalism department and I got a History minor because I was interested in history. And I took a bunch of classes as electives because I thought they would be cool and then they were kind of like, you got to declare a minor eventually and I'm like well, I'm 6 credits away from a Jistory minor I'll just take 2 more classes and finish it out. I would say when I got on campus I knew what I wanted to do but I probably just didn't know which major would get me there but after talking to an advisor they kind of told me to go this route and I'm really happy that I did go that route.

NB: When you got to Oshkosh, how was your first day, like the move in day, did you know your roommate and stuff like that?

JT: I did, my roommate was a guy, so there was 4 of us from Manawa that went here from my class, and one guy was on the baseball team and lived in, it was 9:00either Taylor or Fletcher, he was with the athletes, whatever the athletes dorm was back then. And then me and one of my best friends from high school were roommates and we lived on the 9th floor of North Scott and then another guy we knew lived on the 8th floor of South Scott or something like that, he got with some random roommate because he didn't have a roommate that was going to come here with him to live with him. But yeah I knew my roommate, we moved in together, and my parents were here. I'm still the only person from my family who's ever gone to a four year college or four year university. My sister works in the medical field and she's gone through some stuff through the tech and what not, I'm the only person who's ever gone to college, lived in a dorm so it was an experience for my parents too, and my mom was crying and all that stuff, you know. But yeah, there was nothing real remarkable about it, I remember it being 10:00really new for both me and Josh, my roommate. We went to high school together, both from a really small town, really similar upbringings and similar stuff going on in our lives. We both had girlfriends at the time that lived back home. A lot of people go through that when they go off to college, you have a high school sweetheart and you kind of are dating and you grow. You know, sometimes those things work out and sometimes they don't. In my case, that relationship didn't wind up obviously, that she didn't become my wife, I'm married now to someone that I wasn't dating at the time. It was interesting to say the least. That first week that you're here you're just trying to figure out where the bathrooms are and how you're supposed to-- Now I walk through campus and I could tell you where every building is, if someone told me a room number I could probably take them to it. But then it was like, you got this piece of paper in 11:00front of you and you're looking at it and you're like how am I going to get from, what is this? Halsey? Where is that? How am I supposed to get from there to then I'm only going to have half an hour to eat, how am I going to get over there and then get over there. You know it's overwhelming when you first get here but like anything else you figure it out.

NB: So how would you say the transition was from the high school to college, like the small town to the big town, was it stressful for you?

JT: It wasn't stressful for me because I'm kind of outwardly, I don't mind going up to people I don't know and just talking to them and meeting them. I can see where it would be stressful. My roommate was the same way, he was a really social person so he never had a problem with it either. I could see where, especially if you went to a college where you didn't know anyone, no one else that you knew went there. I could see where someone would struggle with it but as far as the transition for me was simple and I was still going home, my 12:00freshmen and sophomore years I was going home quite a bit on the weekends, I maintained enough of that familiarity with my hometown and being around with my friends who were still there, I was always close enough that if there was an uncomfortable moment or anything that was going on so if there was anything going on that I kind of wanted to get away I could still go home. There was a little bit of a safety net there, but I wouldn't say that I ever had any struggles with the transition, you get too busy as a first semester freshman with new things to really even be able to worry about that kind of stuff.

NB: What did you guys do for fun?

JT: We got into flag football right away, intramurals were huge because we all played sports in high school and all loved sports so we did all the intramural sports that they had here on campus so which was always a blast. Flag football and softball, we didn't basketball in the winter because we weren't really good 13:00at it but we had fun, we met a bunch of guys on our floor and guys we still hang out with to this day. The guys that I, including my CA my freshman year, who I wound up being roommates with a couple years later. The guys on our floor my freshman year, still to this day, we're not like tight where we hang out every weekend, I know all those guys, I know what's going on in their lives, I know where they're living now, I occasionally see them out or somebody will put a get together together, what was the question again?

NB: Oh, what did you guys do for fun, like on the weekend or just chilling?

JT: Back then video games, like they are now, were huge, everyone was playing Madden. Everyone had their doors open. That was the great thing about the dorms is that if you got along with everyone on the floor you could go from room to 14:00room. And everyone had something different going on, someone was watching the game, someone was playing Xbox or PlayStation. On the weekends, my roommate and I, for the most part, now he was home every single weekend, I would stick around, I was probably every other because I was still dating a girl back home at the time, for fun I mean, we went out to parties and stuff like that and that was where you met a lot of new people too, and that was really your main, outside of walking around campus and being in class, that was a part of the social, the initiation of becoming a college student and getting to go out and do what you wanted and having the responsibility and the consequences that come with your actions. And for fun for me on the weekends too I was involved with sports right away, I was doing play by play on the radio for basketball, 15:00football, volleyball, baseball, anything that UWO was playing. I was probably, after my freshman year, I would say 90% of the weekends that I was here I was working on some kind of a game whether it was doing on air stuff or I was running a camera, or if I was doing anything else, we did all the games and they still do now. I wouldn't say that was what I did with my free time because I knew that I was building that toward what I wanted to do in the future, but that took up a lot of time. That was what I did, that was fun that was a different group of friends. I had my friends from Manawa who were here at school that I would hang out with sometimes, I had my friends who lived on my floor, the guys I got to know on my floor and around the building, and then I had a group of friends that were my major friends, the guys who were Radio-TV-Film guys who lived in other dorms or off campus. You know, you kind of build these different 16:00groups of people that you get to know and they're all centered around different things you're trying to do whether it's fun or work or whatever else. There was a lot of different things to do but there were different groups that did different things.

NB: So you're freshman year, 2004, George Bush got reelected, was that your first voting experience?

JT: Yes

NB: How was that like? Was the campus going off politically?

JT: I don't remember it being as, no political situation is like the one we're currently in. I was thinking about it today on my drive in because I knew we were going to talk about a little bit about this, and I thought, it really wasn't like it is now. Generally, campuses in college towns are liberal because you have younger people and they tend to skew that way and that's just the way things go with the demographic. I really don't remember it being really volatile 17:00and hateful. I remember I voted for John Kerry and I had 3 buddies, we were getting breakfast or dinner, and they all voted for George Bush and they just said oh who did you guys vote for? And they were all like yeah I voted for George Bush and I was like no I didn't vote for them and one of my buddies gave me a hard time for it and that was the end of it. It wasn't like this, all these people screaming and people picketing and signs out on the sidewalks and people going off on social media. And that's another thing, we always laugh about this and a lot of people forget about this. You used to have to have a college email to get a Facebook account, you couldn't just have a Facebook account, you had to be enrolled in a university and have a, so you had to use, I had to use or whatever to get a Facebook account. So you had to wait until you graduated from high school to get into college to get your email to get a 18:00Facebook account and it was big then but you couldn't just get on there if you wanted to. That's one big thing that was different is that not everyone could be on social, on Facebook which is just, there's goods and bads that come with that. That was my first time voting, I was 17 when I graduated from high school, I didn't turn 18 until the June after, the end of June before I got to campus here. Yeah that was my first time voting, we went to Albee, the line was so long, people were just bailing out, people would wait for a half hour and see how slow the line was moving and then they would be like nah I'm good, I'm not doing this. We stuck it out, we went and voted. Me and 4 of my buddies we all stood in line and waited, but I really don't remember it, and maybe it's because it's gone to such an extreme now politically, but I really don't remember it being like it is now where people were just really butting heads and it really 19:00was uncomfortable at times and really volatile I guess would be the word. It wasn't like that back then.

NB: And you brought up Facebook before, that was a big thing when you were in college, there was a little internet boom you could say. Facebook came out, YouTube came out a year after that, twitter, all these social Medias. How was that in college?

JT: It was interesting, it was just, I think in like 20 years when you look back on the things that came out, I think we don't even realize it now because it's still a big part of our lives, you just take it for granted. Like everybody's on Facebook, are you on Facebook? I'll find you on Facebook it's fine, how do you spell your name? I'll find you on Facebook. I'll follow you on twitter, I do Snapchat, I'm on Snapchat, but I don't do Instagram, I don't do a lot of the stuff that people do now that's really popular. And you look at it and you think to yourself, why is Instagram so popular? Why do people love Instagram so much? 20:00It just seems like it takes up a lot of your time, I bet that's how people looked at Facebook who were older than me when it came out. This is such a waste of your time, you spend so much time on this thing. It was really interesting and I remember it was really cool to have Facebook, so like everyone, and we were seniors in high school, you were hearing about it and you couldn't wait to get your campus email, and then someone on campus told my buddy about it and he had never heard about it so we signed up together and we made profiles and you put some pictures on there. It was not like what it is today, it was really really basic. There wasn't a lot of video on there, it really was just a social networking thing. It was just a way, there weren't like groups or events or any of that stuff it was just, here you were, and you had friends and you could connect with them, Myspace is dead. But those were the two, and eventually, I 21:00think because Facebook actually evolved, Myspace was just like we're over here doing over thing, we're gonna keep doing the same thing and if you want to hang out with us cool, and Facebook was like look at all this new stuff we keep doing, and they keep doing it now and that's why they continue to be relevant. They're like the social media platform, and people probably poke fun at them because they're lame or because their parents are on it now so it's not cool anymore. But they really have stood the test of time, Facebook has stood the test of time and continues to be something, whether you like it or not, pretty much everybody uses it now.

NB: Would you say that it connected the campus, were you meeting people through there?

JT: Yeah definitely, and even if, even if I was meeting them face to face, say Friday night me and my buddies are like what's going on, we know somebody who lives on campus that's having a get together or something like that so you go 22:00and meet whether it's girls or new friends, and you're like hey man you should play on our flag football team. That really started the, that was kind of, I'm thinking about it now, that was kind of evolution from let me get your phone number to I'll find you on Facebook, it kind of became that, you know what I mean? Like people still exchange phone numbers if they need them now a days, but now it's like I'll send you an email or I'll find you on social media, if it's really a formal thing like a job or something obviously you want a phone number, but if it's like an informal, that was like the beginning of that where you kind of went away from, and obviously texting is and was a big deal but I feel like it replaced a part of the way you communicate with people and the way you found people and, there's good and bad to that, the good is that it got easier, the 23:00bad was that it was too easy and now you don't have to talk to anybody anymore if you don't want to, there's so many different ways to get ahold of people now that spoken word and face to face contact is almost irrelevant. At the time, I don't think anybody realized that we were doing anything revolutionary or different or really like out of the box, I think everybody was just like, just like we do now, anytime some new social media platform comes out now we're like did you heard about it? Like no but you download the app and you start playing with it and you're like oh that's cool.

NB: And soon enough it's huge.

JT: Yup there it is. And then everybody's using and it's just like where did that come from? And I think that was kind of the way Facebook, like it was the cool thing to do so everyone went and did it, and now it's like, you look back on it now, and I'm thinking about it now because you asked me that question, I don't think anybody knew that it was going to get that big or at the time anyway, or you didn't feel like you were going to be a part of something that 24:00got that big.

NB: That makes sense, another thing that happened in your freshman year was the Red Sox won the world series for the first time since 1918, was this like a huge deal in the dorms, were you guys all watching the game?

JT: Yup. I remember my roommate had a big, he bought a big, it wasn't even a flat screen, it was still like an old, you know, like the old TV, like the old 500 pound TV that you would drag around, he bought one of those for our dorm room and he grabbed it and took it down into our lobby in the dorms, cause there was no TV in the lobby, not the lobby but like the, every floor has a common area or whatever. He dragged that down there and put it in there and we all watched game 6 and 7 together, our floor did in the lobby which is crazy to think of now because, now everyone would like pull their phone out and watch it, you know what I mean?

NB: Yeah it's all just streaming.

JT: Somebody wouldn't take a TV into a room now and have everyone come sit and 25:00watch it. It would be like 20 people in a room with their phone all watching it at the same time but it was a big deal. Everyone on campus was talking about it, everybody was watching. I remember when the Red Sox clinched game 7, we were, so like I said, we were on the 9th north of North Scott and we had the windows open, and we were hearing people yelling so we went and looked out and there were like 100 people on the front lawn of Gruenhagen, and they were all just like yeah, red sox woo! It was like, well nobody's a red sox fan but when something happens for the first time in almost a hundred years you're kind of like, wow. And I don't know, with the cubs this year if there was any interest in any of that, I'm sure there's a lot of cubs fans on campus but, that was kind of interesting and then a cop car pulled up on the lawn and everybody ran away so that was the end of that. For a week there, cause they were down 3 games to 1 and everyone's like well they're done, you know they got to the World Series but 26:00again, the curse is going to continue and the Red Sox aren't going to win. And they won game 5 and they won game 6 and they had it tied up and then everybody watched game 7. I feel like even if you weren't a baseball fan you just kind of understood that history was happening so you had to at least watch and yeah, it was pretty cool watching that and seeing that happen.

NB: I bet, I bet. Alright, so your second year, in 2005, hurricane Katrina occurred. Do you remember that happening and how did the campus sort of react to this sort of tragedy?

JT: I remembered it happening and I remember, maybe for the first time in my adult life realizing that living in the Midwest, that, even from just a weather standpoint, but from a, we kind of take a lot of things for granted, that a hurricane is never going to hit here, not unless something crazy happens with the climate or whatever. You don't have to worry about that kind of stuff and 27:00death and destruction on that massive scale is just not something that happens here regularly or with that we're threatened with regularly, you know, down in Louisiana Florida and that area, they every year, you know, I lived down in Virginia for a short time on the coast there, and we had a hurricane come through when I lived there. But it kind of just skirted the coast and then just went away so we didn't get nailed by it like anything bad or certainly like Katrina, but that kind of overtook the media cycle obviously, and people started talking about whether or not they were fast enough to get people out of there, or if they really did what they should've done. I don't know if I can say this definitively because 9/11 might have been more of this moment, but I feel like that was a moment when people started to question whether or not the government 28:00was really like looking out for people, you know what I mean? Like I guess 9/11 wasn't, isn't a good example of it that, 9/11 was more of a come together kind of moment. I feel like the reaction from people in general, not just on campus, but the reaction from the people in general to them, to that moment, was how come nobody did anything about that, you know what I mean? From a federal to a state level to all over the place. It just really seemed like, in those situations you can do everything possible to get people to leave, and tell them you need to evacuate, this is going to get really bad. And then there are the people who no matter how bad you tell them it's gonna get there just gonna stay because this is their home and they're not leaving. But, I remember the narrative around that event and that moment was that not enough was done to get people out, to make sure they knew how bad it was going to be and where it was going to be and then eventually to actually help them and respond to that. You see stuff on the news and we've seen, and there's been so much that's happened 29:00since then that I don't remember a ton about that and I don't remember a lot about it from a campus standpoint but I just remember, in general, the reaction to that was that people were disappointed and frustrated and there was a race element to that too and I remember that being talked about that this was, there was a lot of minorities that lived in the areas that were really hard hit and that if that hadn't been the case perhaps the response would have been different, you know obviously I can't speak to whether or not that's true but that's how those groups of people felt when that happened. So that wasn't just a hurricane that destroyed a bunch of buildings. That was an event that kind of spurned a lot of conversation about the things in the country at the time.

NB: Yeah, and was that happening on social media, and people were all just talking about it?

JT: Yeah, and that's one of the examples of a time when social media can be used 30:00for good, is that fundraising efforts get easier because you get your message out faster and I think people started to realize that that's a way they could utilize that and also the free sharing of information, now there is also misinformation that comes with that too, you can't believe everything you see on Facebook. The sharing of information, somebody in Louisiana who had an internet connection could really tell us what was going on there instead of wait to see it on the news. And that's too, you know, social media kind of expedited the whole process of 24 hour news, 24 news existed before Facebook but I think social media pushed that to a level we had never seen before, now you don't have to wait for the news to come on, you don't have to wait for your favorite show to come on at 5 o'clock, you already know. What are you going to tell me that I don't already know? So that's another piece to that, we didn't have to wait for the nightly news to see what was happening in Katrina we already knew because you could see the pictures and stuff on Facebook and other social media sites.


NB: Okay, now in 2006 I read that you hosted a Titan TV show called Inside the Locker Room. Could you explain that to me, what was that like?

JT: And if you look hard enough you could probably find some of those laying around somewhere.

NB: Well I'll go look after the interview.

JT: Well that was a group of buddies that we all worked in the Radio-TV-Film department, excuse me were students in the Radio-TV-Film department. It was basically like a sports center rip off for UW Oshkosh sports. We created a set, we made graphics, and we had, it was two anchors, two people doing highlights and tossing packages, we had people come in who were analysts and talked about the baseball team and talked about the.. We all wanted to work for sports center which is good we don't because we all would've gotten fired yesterday when they 32:00purged all those people from ESPN. That was what we all wanted to do, I don't know if there had ever been a show like that before, it survived for a few years after we left, I don't remember when it went off the air, I don't think it's on the air anymore there, but it was a lot of fun. That was what took up all of my, you know, the Radio-TV-Film major is kind of a major that kind of centers around, it's project based, you don't write a lot of papers, there's not a ton of homework per say, unless you're in a lot of theory or law classes, but when you're in fundies or video production classes or anything like that, you're creating projects, you're editing, you're lighting, you're doing all this stuff. So going through my freshman and sophomore year and getting those basic classes, and all of us were in the same boat basically cause we were all around the same age. That was like, okay we know how to do all of this stuff now let's do what 33:00we want to do and that show kind of birthed from that I guess. It was a friend of mine who was a little bit older than me who now does a Chicago White Sox podcast down in Chicago and does some other media stuff down, another guy is a sports reporter in Madison, another guy works in marketing for a TV station in Virginia, another guy works for WTMJ in Milwaukee, so all of us guys who did that show, and girls, there were girls who worked on it too, our all whole group now that I think back on it I can pretty much nail down where everybody is now and they all pretty much working on some kind of media or somewhere in that realm or sports now, it was really good experience and we were really proud of it and I'm glad that we did it.

NB: Yeah. Another thing that happened that year was Saddam Hussein was 34:00assassinated, and you said mhmm so you remember that?

JT: Oh yeah, and you remember when they pulled him out of the ground and you saw him, you know, where they found him and they showed that video of getting him out of there and then they pulled down, and the thing that I'll always remember is when I first the video of when they pulled his statue down, when they pulled it down the feet were welded to the base so they were trying to pull it down and the feet were bending up and when it came down people were jumping on it and it was just, yeah, that was wild. A lot of people didn't like that we were there because they felt like, I remember a lot of the rhetoric was, you know, well A they lied about the weapons so they could go in and get the oil, and then B, and when I say they I mean the US government, and then B, George W Bush was kind of going in to clean up what his dad didn't accomplish because of the desert storm, they stopped short of getting rid of Saddam Hussein, they let him stay but they 35:00kind of, they kept him out of Kuwait and they kind of mission accomplished on that or whatever, but I remember that was the anti-war rhetoric at the time, that people were just kind of tired of our troops being there and they wanted them home, and now they had gotten him everybody thought that was going to be the end of it but little did they know here in 2017 we're still, it still is very unstable and it's kind of going the way it is. Yeah I remember that.

NB: Okay, so in 2007, back to your accomplishments, you won Member of the Year in the National Broadcasting Society and you also won an award for the best video sports play by play, I wanted to ask what was that like to be winning those sorts of awards and how did you get there, how did you achieve that?

JT: Yeah, I mean, I think we also as a chapter won most improved chapter regionally that year, which as the president of NBS was even more so satisfying 36:00then the individual stuff.

NB: So you were the president at that time?

JT: Yeah I was the president of NBS for 2 years I wanna say, 2 or 3 years, and yeah, we at the regional level we did really well, I can't remember if, we were most improved chapter and then I think, me and the lady who was the president at Winona State, I think maybe one member of the, maybe we were co chapters, I don't remember, that was a proud moment. A lot of people, and that organization is kind of dwindled here on campus a little bit now, but back then there were a lot of people who were involved in it and submitted a lot of awards and got a lot of notoriety for the campus and that was one of the big reasons why we were involved in that. It was a proud moment, you know I was involved in, you know, 37:00trying to get more people to become members, and we went to multiple national conventions, we went to Washington D.C. I think when I was a sophomore, we went to Chicago two years later. The prouder moments, I think those were regional awards, that happened I think in Des Moines, Iowa, the one you're talking about, the ones that were really great that when we won NBS rewards were when we went to the National Convention and we would be nominated and it would be Marshal, Florida, Florida St., UW Oshkosh. Yeah, you would hear all these big D1 schools and have their names get called out and then UW Oshkosh. Yeah we were strong, we won national awards, and you know, I think we won a couple for sports, and there was some that, I think we won several radio spots as well, I know that (inaudible). But yeah, our program for a couple years there was really strong 38:00with NBS and I was always really proud to be a part of how strong it was when we were that good.

NB: Yeah, so you were president for 2 to 3 years you said?

JT: I think 2 years, I think maybe, 06-07, or maybe 07-08? I was, I wanna say, and I don't remember, I was the station manager for Titan TV at one point too for a year, and I don't remember if those coincided, I think my last year of NBS president and my year of Titan TV station manager may have coincided but I don't remember, you probably have the date.

NB: (laughs) No.

JT: And we can talk about that later but yeah, as far as NBS goes it was a great honor to be a part of it and I was really proud of what we did as a chapter and what we did as a group cause we did a lot of good things.

NB: Oh yeah, so like as the president was that like a lot of work? Cause it sounds like you were really involved with a lot of the organizations on campus.


JT: Yeah it was very busy, you know, just keeping track of everyone and giving purpose to the organization outside of winning awards, and I think toward the end it kind of, unfortunately that's why it kind of fizzled out because people were struggling to see the return on investment of their time unless you were going to win an award, why should you be a part of this organization? And that was what we struggled with at the end and that was kind of where it went. But the main focus of NBS, outside of winning awards, was every year we did a telethon for ataxia-telangiectasia, its children's disease, AT it's called, and we did that for, I mean that had to be going on for over a decade, but the vice president of NBS in our constitution, they were the executive producer of the telethon. So they put together, the vice president was in charge, this was their main function for the majority of the year was laying out an 8 hour live 40:00television broadcast, you've seen telethons, we did one on our channel and we raised thousands of dollars for this child's disease and families that were affected were in the studio and we had auction items and at some point Ben Affleck's sister was affected by the disease. So he called in and made a donation to our telethon one year and we take live calls and the whole department was involved the, engineers were there all there students were there, it was a really really big deal and a huge production. And I don't think they do it anymore but that was the other thing that really great about NBS is that even 41:00people who weren't in NBS, we brought the major together to produce that event which was really awesome.

NB: That is awesome. So in 2007 the global economic crisis happened. Was that a big deal on campus? Did you have to see a lot of people drop out or anything like that?

JT: No, I remember, and I look back on it now and I think myself thank god I wasn't like 4 or 5 years older because I don't know what I would have done. When you're a student for the most part you're not worrying about your taxes, you're not worry about your mortgage insurance, your mortgage rate or how much your mortgage payment is, you know. You have a rent payment, it's not going up. It is what it is and you have a lot of freedom from what's going on in the market, you don't have a 401k, you don't have investments. So on campus it was kind of a 42:00like huh, I wonder what that's all about, like that's kind of weird. You know the bottom drops out in 08 and I mean being a homeowner now it scares me to death, you know? But I think it might have been, I don't want to say it was a good thing but I think it was an educational thing for people our age because when something bad happens and you're not affected by it you're not as emotional about it so you have the opportunity to learn about it from a factual point of view. Why did it happen? What happened? How do you stop it in the future? How can you avoid it? All those things so we were able to learn about it without being emotionally attached to it, and it was a political thing too. It still is to this day, people debate the stimulus and the crisis in the first place and how it all happened. Bank bailouts, auto bailouts, those are political issues as 43:00much as they are financial issues but on campus there was no grand demonstration or feeling I guess. People weren't banding together to protest these things that were happening because as student were largely unaffected by it.

NB: So earlier when you mentioned being the station manager at Titan TV, how would you compare that to the other positions you held such as being the president or the National Broadcasting Society?

JT: That one was more challenging because there were more functional duties, I had to delegate more, with NBS it was an efficient enough organization that we 44:00didn't have a ton going on so we could kind of do whatever we wanted, if we wanted to do extra stuff, or if we wanted to do fundraisers or membership drives or whatever, you know? We had the time to do that. With Titan TV we had to worry about shows getting on the air, promos getting in for deadline, and equipment that was working or wasn't working and there was just a lot lot more that went into that and I don't know that I was necessarily ready for that when I did it, and I wouldn't have been the president of NBS and the Titan TV station manager at the same time if I had known better but at the time I was an upperclassman who was involved in everything and I knew everybody and everyone was comfortable with me doing it. It was kind of a no brainer that I would go and just do it and involved in it. We had a program manager, I can't remember the title of the person but the person who was interested in handling the programming had then 45:00backed out right after the election so we were supposed to be in full swing with shows getting started and promos being in on time. People were, there wasn't a lot of direction and I remember at the time, Troy Perkins who's not here anymore but was a professor back then, he just recently left to go down to Dallas but, a great professor, really smart guy, very talented guy kind of came in and chewed us out a little bit because we were kind of (inaudible) at the beginning of the this. The transition from the previous student staff to us just didn't go smoothly and I don't really know why that happened looking back on it now but that was a big challenge, it was tough, and that was a challenging year doing that and I remember being disappointed with the way it started. So that one was 46:00a little different, it taught me a lot and I'm glad that I did it but it was a lot more challenging than National Broadcasting Society was.

NB: Definitely, I read a quote from you from the year 2008 and the quote went, "in order to get a job in our industry, GPA doesn't mean anything. Once you graduate here, as long as you graduate, you're good to go. Employers want to see your reel, they want to see your demo tape, they want to know what you've done and the earlier students start working on those things, the better the end result will be." Did you find that to be true after you graduated? And how did Oshkosh help you prepare for future jobs now that you're looking back on it?

JT: Being more mature and more of an adult I probably wouldn't put it that way. I don't want to tell people their GPA doesn't matter. I want you to get good 47:00grades and do well in school, I mean the idea behind the statement stands, I haven't put my GPA on my resume since I applied for my first job, and people don't care, they don't. I mean if you're going to be a doctor or someone where you're looking at how well you can take a test, or how well you can do your homework, there are jobs where it matters but this field, this major is not really one of them, that still stands. Called it a reel back then but you know people want to see what you've done, what you've got your hands on. Can you edit on Avid and final cut and premiere? Yeah, then I don't care that you got a 4.0 I want to know what you can do, can you operate a camera, what kind of cameras can you use, if I send you out into the field with a camera and a really nice microphone and I tell you to get me some stuff and then come back and edit it 48:00and have it done by the end of the day tomorrow can you do it? Well no, but I got a 4.0, well then I'm not gonna hire you. Maybe if you have a perfect candidates with perfect skill sets and you were like we don't who to pick and one person had a 2.8 and one person had a 3.7, well maybe this guy is a little more responsible because he had a really high GPA so then I could see. What I should have said is it's not going to hurt you to have a high GPA. SO get good grades and do well in your classes but don't think that sitting in your room and studying and getting a 4.0 and never being involved at the radio station or Titan TV is going to help you. You have to be able to tell people when you get out in the job force that not only did I get good grades, I've also been editing on Avid and final cut for 3 years or if you're in the radio station I can 49:00produce a whole show by myself, I can run a board, I can schedule breaks, I'm not stressed out by that I've been doing it on campus forever. So if you wanna work in the film industry to want to move out to LA and access our network of alumni who live out there get in involved in film society, learn how to be a PA, learn how to be gaffer, learn how lights work, learn the basics of things because reading about 3 point lighting in a book or reading about camera shots in a book is one thing and learning about it from a book is one thing but when you're actually getting your hands on something and learning it is a whole nother thing so I would say that maybe should be cleaned up a little but the idea behind it still stands to this day I would say.

NB: Ok, another thing that I read about you was that you said you had an internship at a Green Bay TV station. I wanted to know what that kind of 50:00experience was like during your college years and were internships normal for RTF students because they are required now.

JT: I don't think they were required back then, they were a class you could take for credit, but I don't think you needed to take one, the face that they're required now is excellent because everyone should have to take an internship. I got my internship from, I mentioned Troy Perkins earlier, his wife Francis taught here, eventually she moved on to a different university in this area I think UW Fond Du Lac or something like that but Troy stayed here and was part of the RTF department and Francis was somewhere else but before she left, there was a guy from WISN, Dan Needles, he was a sports director there, he was an Alum and he came and talked to our class one day I think it was news writing, he came and talked to our class and Francis knew that I was very interested in sports so she asked him if he would stick around and talk to me after it was over. So we 51:00walked from the RTF building toward Halsey and sat down on a bench there and just kind of talked, and he told me flat out he's like when you get into this business you are going to work weekends, you're going to work nights, holidays, you'll miss birthdays, you're gonna miss all this stuff, but it's a really really fun thing to do and you're gonna have to decide for yourself if you can balance all that and still enjoy what you're doing, and it was a really good chat and I asked him about an internship and he worked at WISN in Milwaukee and he was like if you live up here it doesn't make sense for you to intern for us because you're gonna be driving a lot and he gave me the contact for the guys up at WBAY which is the ABC affiliate up in Green Bay and I interned there for 2 summers, awesome experience, still know those guys and get along with them 52:00really well, I wound up getting a job at Fox 11 so my first job was at a different station in Green Bay and they would make fun of me for working for somebody else but their sports producer now, or he was their sports producer that I was mostly working with, great guy, good friend, still talk to him all the time, he lives in De Pere, I freelance with him sometimes for like Time Warner Sports channel or Spectrum Sports their called now, but they're great guys. And I still know Chris Roth is their sports director up there, he's a really good guy and they were great for me. That was a really good experience and I'm glad that I got to intern with them because I learned a ton.

NB: Then in 2008, Barack Obama won the election. I think he was instated in 2009 but how did this one compare to the previous one with George Bush? Was this one more relevant on campus would you say?

JT: Yeah, and because of what we talked about before with the dynamic on campus 53:00being more of a liberal area. It was really really positive. There were enough students on campus who were republican and supported I think it was John McCain. There were enough students on campus who were vocally supportive of the republican party in that election but, I saw, president Obama came here he was senator Obama then, he came here in 08. We waited outside of Kolf, we got right on the corner. I remember we walked right down in the corner and he walked right by us when he came out, and then he gave a speech and when he walked back he came down the line and shook everyone's hand and we got to shake his hand and talk to him a little bit, it was great. It was a really cool experience. It was neat that he came here and then a group of friends and I drove down to Madison 54:00to see him again because he spoke down there so we drove to Madison and went to the Kohl Center and that one was even bigger, if you can imagine the Kohl Center compared to Kolf was maybe a 10,000 person difference, maybe more so that one was crazy (laughs). The reason he got elected was because of his message you know, and perhaps some of the challenges he faced were because of this but it wasn't because of the policies he was necessarily pitching, and with our current president Donald Trump you could probably say the same thing. When Obama was running he was like, I know it sounds cliché, but he was like the embodiment of change a whole different way of thinking and doing things, and the country got 55:00swept up in it and as a young person you got swept up in it and as a young person who was optimistic about the future, wanting to make a difference in your community and the world you couldn't help but want to be a part of it, and to be really interested in everything that was going on. And too, there's a big difference between being 18 and 22 years old and the things you understand about the world and life and where you are in life and just how much you grow in those 4 years is crazy, so the way you look, and understand politics when you're 18 to 22, and now I'm 30. Those are 3 different people, really they are, and obviously you're the same person but the things you know, understand, and believe from 18 to 22 to 26 to 30 are so different you know? And our feelings were different 56:00between 04 and 08. And then the situation was different, in 08 the economy was terrible, everybody was struggling, everyone was just looking for someone who could tell you with a smile on their face and with a positive outlook, we'll figure it out, come on, we'll get it all back together and that was him in 2008 and that's why a lot of people voted for him.

NB: And then a year later in 2010 the Haiti earthquake happened, was that a big deal? Were the social medias blowing up?

JT: Yeah, and that was the thing, from 04 to 2010, that's a 6 year gap. Now things are so much different with social media. Just talking from a social media standpoint, oh, 6 years, Facebook was different, with the click of a button on 57:00Facebook you could donate money to the Red Cross for Haiti, YouTube was huge, people were posting videos, Twitter was huge, you could get information immediately about what was going on on the ground. I was old enough now that people who were my age were leaving America to go to Haiti to volunteer, there were a lot of people on campus who did that and people my age doing that so I think that might be a good barometer of how social media affects how you see things in the world. We talked about Katrina in 05 and that doesn't stand out in my mind as much as Haiti does in 2010 because the information and the way you could get to it and be a part of trying to fix it were so much different so I 58:00think it's a good example of how, how in that 5-6 year gap how different the world got.

NB: Yeah, also after 2010 it seems like you took a break from school until 2013, I was wondering why was that and when you came back to campus how had things changed, what was different?

JT: Sure, so in 2010, well I got here in 04 so I took the long route to graduate like some other people do, now a days graduating in 4 years can be kind of tough so I was set to work in May of 2010 and I don't know how it works now, but if you had a summer class to complete your degree, you could walk in may if you wanted and just complete the class in the summer and you'd be fine, so I applied for graduation. I had my plan all laid out, I was approved and I walked in 2010, 59:00I got really sick and to this day I don't know what it was, I don't know if it was a really bad form of strep or if it was a blood infection or what it was, but basically for 2 weeks I laid in my girlfriend's mom's basement and all I could eat was popsicles. I've never been so sick in my life. So I was really really sick. They tested me for strep, it was a rapid test for strep and it was not strep so I was like, alright, well must just be a virus and I gotta ride this thing out so I stayed in contact with my professors and let them know and I'm set to graduate, I can't really be missing two weeks of the last semester and all of my professors except one basically allowed me to make up the work. I brought them all my doctor paperwork and said I got this and I got this and just 60:00one professor didn't let me make it up, and I was a BA at the time so I needed a foreign language requirement so I was supposed to take Spanish 201 then that spring semester in summer in August I was supposed to take Spanish 202 which would satisfy my foreign language requirement and then I would be good to go. Because of my professor in Spanish 201, well he basically told me, I can't let you make this up, you've missed too much I appreciate the fact that you were sick but basically he said you're going to have to retake the class and because I was set to take 202 in the summer I was like well now what do I do? So I'm trying to work through all of this and get it all figured out. I walked for graduation still hoping I was going to be able to figure it out, and started 61:00applying for jobs hoping I was going to figure it out so I graduated in May, I got married in July and then I got my first job in August.

NB: Wow, big couple of months.

JT: Right before I got my first job and I applied to fox 11 for a writer/editor position on their morning show on good day Wisconsin and I got that job. Their assistant news director is Bill Keefer, who is an alum up there too, really great guy. A lot of U people wind up working there. And I got the job. I told them I'm going to graduate but I have a class I have to be in August so just so you know I have a degree but I gotta finish this class so like the week before I started they told me we're not going to be able to work this out you're not 62:00gonna be able to get into your class so technically you aren't going to be able to get your degree so at risk of getting anybody in or even myself in trouble, and fox 11 never really followed up to ask me about this as far as my degree goes but I basically didn't have my degree. So I got the job and I'm working up there and this goes back to the GPA thing, I could do the job, but I didn't have a degree so I was caught in a tough spot because I was like, well I need a job, like I need to work, and you know I got married in July w were living together on summit in those apartments on the river and I'm like I gotta have a job, I can't just not work. So I went those few years and I had the job so I started 63:00working and I don't even know how I would manage going to work full time and then going to school, so I'm not really sure what I should so I worked for a few years and eventually when things kind of settled down a little bit I switched my degree because I needed those 2 Spanish classes so I switched to a BS, I took a biology class and a geography class or geology or something like that and I got the credits done, turned them in and, project graduation is the name of the thing in the student resources center across from reeve. They have a program called project graduation and the people over there were so helpful that it was 64:00literally their mission was like get people who have gone off the path, to get them back in here, get them what they need, help them out with the paperwork, they really took a lot of stress of me, And I can't remember the names of the 2 ladies who helped me the most, but I'm pretty sure the name of it was project graduation and working through that with them, I figured it out. In 2013 I graduated and got my degree, it was an experience, and at that time in 2010 I didn't know what to do and it was a little embarrassing.

NB: You were just kind of caught.

JT: Well right, and you gotta have a job and it was embarrassing and I didn't want to talk to many people about it and I remember when I got my diploma in 2013, people who walked with me were like they didn't we graduate together and 65:00then I had to go through this whole story I told you and tell them, so it was interesting, but it's all over now, hopefully I don't suffer any repercussions from that but I'm pretty sure if anyone wanted to dig deep enough they could figure it out. That was kind of how it went.

NB: So when you came back I think there were some new buildings around. So how did the campus change I guess and did you still know people around campus?

JT: Yeah I still knew, well I wasn't taking any Radio-TV-Film classes and I wasn't involved in any of the organizations because I was there just to get those classes done and finish up what I needed to finish up, I can't remember when all these buildings were built.

NB: I'm pretty sure Horizon had just come in.

JT: When I got here in 04 the horizon was Clemens, breeze, and something else. 66:00They were 3 little dorms on that site so Horizon was a new building, the Rec Center had just gone up in 09 or 10 and this building that we're sitting now, the Alumni Conference Center, that was not here. When I got here two years later so in 05 or 06 they installed air conditioning in Taylor and they were the only ones with air conditioning and that was the athlete's dorm too so you had to know somebody to get in there. The parking garage was not here so every time I come on campus I feel like something new is happening, something cool is happening. So that's one of the reasons why I still like coming back, because there's always new cool things going on.


NB: So overall looking back at your time in Oshkosh, what do you think about this university changed you or helped you get to where you are today?

JT: I really grew up here, I really became who I am here. When you leave high school you have no idea what life is like especially when you come from a town as small as what I come from, so sanitized and boxed in. Things you think matter go out the window in seconds because you don't know what the world will be like or what's expected of you or required of you to to be successful and upbringing and how you handle yourself in high school and in your formative years, in your teens, and your parents obviously are huge. But to become the adult that you are 68:00going to be, those years from 18 to 22, 23, 25, well that was my first time on my own, and your living by yourself and you're responsible for taking care of everything from paperwork to paying bills to learning the pros and cons to having your first credit card. Which…. There were cons to that, lessons learned in that. But all of that stuff that I learned I learned here at UW Oshkosh. I stayed in town even after 2010. So I came here in 04, I was here through 2010, I don't think we moved back to Manawa until 2012 so I lived here for 8 years, I lived here in town longer than I lived in either of my parents 69:00houses after they got divorced, and when my parents divorced we were back and forth every Friday as kids so I was basically living out of a suitcase most of the time because you unpack your clothes, next Friday you pack them back up and you go back and forth. So this kind of became my home because I had my room, my stuff, my situation was here. That was a change for me in a positive way and I learned everything professionally that I needed to know to be successful. If I've had any success as a professional at this point in life it was because of the stuff I learned here I would say.

NB: Is there anything else that you would like to say or talk about or add from any of the years that you went here.

JT: I'm just trying to think of some way to wrap it all up but, I mean I work 70:00for the city now and when I drove back on campus I still this when I cross the intersection of congress and Algoma and I drive toward campus I still get butterflies in my stomach because it still to this day feels like a friend that you haven't seen in a long time, whether it's your favorite bar or restaurant or thing to do still feels to this day like coming home like going down a road and you're almost to your driveway and can't wait to get home, that feeling, that's the kind of feeling I get when I come on campus because to this day this city and campus feelings kind of like home in some ways or just a familiar 71:00comfortable spot. College is a great memory bank for everybody. Everyone remembers great things about college. I think I will always think of this campus as a big part of me, a part of who I became and who I am today.

NB: Alright so that's all we got! And with that this interview is over.

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