Erika Engstrom   Biography

Erica fills us in on her Central Florida Radio Years.
"I began my radio career when John Martin hired me to do the news at WUCF-FM (89.9) when I was a graduate student in the fall of 1984. Prior to being hired there, I had interned as a television news assistant at WCPX-TV. At WUCF, I also served as DJ (trying to find something listenable among the station's then-Big Band format offerings. The closest I could get was the Ray Conniff version of The Doors’ “Light My Fire”) and producer/anchor for “University Magazine,” as well as assistant news director. I still remember the time John (our boss!) sprayed Noxzema shaving cream on me and sports anchor Stan Lee just seconds before airtime. During the spring of 1985, I also interned at WJYO-FM (107.7) ("Radio Joy") as news assistant, helping news director Renee Blake with research (mostly cutting out newspaper articles). I also got to voice a commercial spot (My big line: "Wow! Moonbeam International is more than a health spa!"). I moved on to work in TV news full time at WCPX in 1985, during which time I also served as weekend DJ/announcer for the short-lived tourist information format at WWLD-AM (1190) (“You're listening to Radio World. We're glad you're here”). A number of UCF people were hired to work at WWLD (a rickety old shack-like building), including Kriss Klaus, Vicki Venturi, Debbie Messiano, and, of course, John Martin. I quit the broadcasting business to work on my master’s thesis in 1986 (I researched the effects of nonfluencies, or "flubs, on newscaster credibility; WUCF's Stan Lee served as the newscaster in my experiment). I then went on to work on my Ph.D. at the University of Florida, where I taught radio news and broadcast writing. In the summer of 1987, I was hired as news producer/anchor at WUFT-FM, UF’s highly-rated NPR affiliate. In 1991, I left Florida to start my new career as a professor specializing in broadcast journalism at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. After some 11 years in academia and becoming an associate dean, my radio career was resurrected in 2002 when I was asked to serve as acting general manager for one year at KUNV-FM, the university’s NPR affiliate. As an academic, my research interests include women in broadcasting and women's radio. My only forays on air these days are when the folks at KUNV let me take the mic as a volunteer “pitcher” during twice-a-year pledge drives!

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