Former WOUB Student and Gridiron Glory Host Matt Barnes Returns for Black Alumni Reunion Weekend
Barnes reflects on his time at WOUB and connection to bridging racial relationships
ATHENS, OH – Matt Barnes, BSJ ’08, returned to Ohio University this weekend as part of the Black Alumni Reunion to moderate a panel discussion at the Alvin Adams Symposium. Adams was an African American journalist and civil rights activist who helped bridge the racial divide at Ohio University, in southeastern Ohio and across the nation. Barnes says he has long been inspired by Adams and has worked throughout his entire career to overcome racial barriers dating back to his time working as a student at WOUB.
Barnes, who is now a morning television news anchor on NBC 4 in Columbus, was one of the first African American hosts of WOUB’s Gridiron Glory. The 30-minute TV sports show airs highlights of high school football games from across Southeastern Ohio. Barnes hosted the program for two years starting in 2006 and helped build strong connections with many people in the predominantly white Appalachian Ohio communities the show featured.
“I got to know people in the area through coverage of high school football. There were not a lot of people who looked like me in some communities, and I was able to create relationships and trust,” said Barnes. “Now when I go to communities like Jackson and Wellston in my current job, I get recognized as a former host of Gridiron Glory, and they welcome me. It means a lot.”
While he was a student Barnes also worked on WOUB’s Newswatch, a nightly student-produced newscast. After he graduated from Ohio University, Barnes worked mostly as a sports journalist. He recently made the move to the news desk and says his time working on Newswatch at WOUB made the transition easier.
“I thought back to the feedback and critiques I got as a student doing news at WOUB and applied it to my new role. I felt I could make that transition because of the experience I had from WOUB,” said Barnes. “Working at WOUB made me job ready when I graduated. I could do all the things I needed to be able to do. You can’t really put a measure on what that experience meant.”
About WOUB Public Media
As an administrative unit of the Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University, WOUB Public Media is a non-profit, community-supported multimedia organization which provides public online and broadcast services, along with non-broadcast educational services and student professional development. As affiliates of NPR and PBS, WOUB serves 55 counties throughout the Appalachian areas of southeastern Ohio, northern West Virginia and eastern Kentucky with its broadcast signals. WOUB Radio’s FM Network has transmitters in Athens, Chillicothe, Ironton, Zanesville and Cambridge, while WOUB AM serves the immediate Athens area. WOUB TV is made up of six television channels (WOUB HD, WOUB Classic, WOUB World, WOUB Create, WOUB Ohio and WOUB Kids) which are broadcast from two transmitters.
Through its support of public service, teaching, research and administrative missions, along with its high-quality local content and programming, WOUB enriches, enhances and expands the lives and horizons of the people in the Appalachian communities it serves, as well as Ohio University faculty, staff and students.