Roosevelt Leftwich found his passion for broadcasting at WOUB

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Leftwich graduated from Ohio University in 1984

ATHENS, OH — When Roosevelt Leftwich came to Athens in 1980, he thought he wanted to be a print journalist. Then he started working at WOUB, got the broadcast bug and never looked back.

“I grew up in Cleveland and attended a youth newspaper editors conference at Ohio University when I was in high school. The conference was a week long, and I really enjoyed it. After that, I wanted to go to Ohio University for college.

When Leftwich came to campus as a freshman, he started working at The post office. He worked at night and was a reviser. Leftwich wanted to have a signature in the paper, but was told he wasn’t ready.

“A friend then told me to come to WOUB and work on the radio. He said they would let me on the air right away,” Leftwich said. and I was immediately assigned to a Saturday morning shift to do a 7 a.m. newscast. My first newscast was the worst newscast in the history of newscasts. But I stuck to it. WOUB was a place where I could immediately do something. They put me straight to work.

Leftwich did radio for nearly two years at WOUB. Then he decided to audition for television.

“I auditioned for NewsWatch at the beginning of my second year, and it was terrible. I was not approved to present on television. But when I tried again at the end of my second year, I was given a TV presenter spot,” Leftwich said. “The first time I dropped anchor NewsWatch, I thought I knew what to do on TV. But as Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until they’re punched in the mouth.” I was nervous and knew my friends were watching. I looked at the wrong camera. There were words I knew that I had mispronounced. I was nervous, but I kept coming back and getting better.

Leftwich worked at WOUB during spring and winter break to gain more experience. He graduated in early March 1984 and began looking for a job.

“I searched for six months and found nothing. I thought I was going to be a firefighter in Cleveland, and that’s when a TV job came along,” Leftwich said. “A professor at Ohio University heard that WHIZ in Zanesville was looking for someone and recommended me.”

At first, Leftwich weathered the noon news and worked on a 4-H farm program. Leftwich was eventually promoted to news anchor. He worked in Zanesville for over two years before accepting a job as a reporter/weekend anchor at a station in Florence, South Carolina.

“I was in South Carolina for about two years before moving to a bigger market in Charlotte, North Carolina as a reporter,” Leftwich said. “But I wanted to be an anchor. So I took a job in a smaller market as a weekend anchor and main back-up in Columbia, South Carolina.

That’s when Leftwich got his big break – an opportunity to come home. He was offered a job as a reporter in Cleveland at WEWS.

“I worked there for eight years, and it was great,” Leftwich said. But the anchor bug struck again when Leftwich decided to leave Cleveland to host a morning show in Baltimore.

“I started there anchoring in the morning, but then got promoted to 5 p.m. anchor,” Leftwich said. “It was a really great opportunity until there was a change of ownership at the station and things really changed.”

It was then that Leftwich came home. This time to work as a multimedia reporter for Fox 8 in Cleveland.

“I’ve been back in Cleveland since August 2015,” Leftwich said. “I still use the skills I learned at WOUB every day. At WOUB, you learn the basics. The students did everything at WOUB. We picked up the phone and called people. We asked questions. We went out to meet people and talked to people. As a journalist, 90% of your job is to talk to people. And I learned how to do that and how to be a journalist at WOUB.

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