SUNY Oswego will welcome one of its own into the classroom this fall as Al Roker, national weather anchor on NBC’s TODAY and co-host of the third hour of TODAY, will teach a broadcasting course titled “Camera Ready: Developing Your On-Air Persona” (BRC 497).
Roker, a 1976 SUNY Oswego graduate, will work with fellow SUNY Oswego faculty members: assistant professor of communication studies, Michael Riecke, former anchor of WSYR-TV “The Morning News” in Syracuse. and adjunct professor of meteorology Vanessa Richards, a 2008 graduate of SUNY Oswego and TV meteorologist for Spectrum News, CNY.
Together, they will help students explore and learn what it takes to stand out from the pack and apply their skills and knowledge to succeed as an on-air personality in today’s competitive media environment.
Roker and his co-professors will discuss with students the methods for connecting with an audience through storytelling, personal branding, presentation styles, on-camera appearance and more, with the goal of creating a demo reel. In addition, students will analyze the work of legendary on-air talent in television, radio and digital media as well as examine the characteristics that helped them succeed.
“Al Roker has been a loyal ambassador for Oswego throughout his career, generous in sharing his love for the college,” said SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley. “Oswego is honored that he has now chosen to return to the college classroom to share his talent and experiences with the next generation of broadcasters. Al’s unique background in broadcasting as a weather anchor, journalist and renowned television personality provides Oswego students with the ability to explore today’s complex broadcasting and communication environment.”
“As a freshman at Oswego, I was working in the campus television studio, while my friends at big private universities never touched a piece of equipment until later in their college careers,” said Roker. “I’m excited about giving back to my alma mater, educating future journalists, and providing Oswego students with many of the same advantages I was given.”
A generous supporter of his alma mater, Roker provided SUNY Oswego a gift to name the Al Roker Television Studio, which is operated by the student-run television station (WTOP), and teamed up with Lou Borrelli ’77 to name the annual Media Summit in honor of a mentor, Dr. Lewis B. O’Donnell. His live national broadcasts from campus and his frequent on-air “plugs” for Oswego provide exposure for the college, most recently during Rokerthon3 in March 2017. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication studies from SUNY Oswego and an honorary doctorate from the State University of New York.