Job shadowing WCFW Radio’s Paul Sokup

by Parker Reed

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Paul Sokup of WCFW Radio in Chippewa Falls, WI, providing one of his many on-air weather updates on Friday, Feb. 26.

Operating the main audio board, keeping and creating logs, providing weather updates and inputting class music in a timely matter all whilst trying to uphold the history and tradition of WCFW Radio, are just some of the responsibilities that Paul Sokup has to tackle every single day.

WCFW Radio 105.7 FM, has been located and run in the small town of Chippewa Falls, WI since 1968, and as soon as you walk in through the front door, the history is immediately noticeable. Thousands of dusty vinyl records, vintage microphones and black & white photos of the station from the 60’s are spread all throughout the station. And Sokup, one of four employees at the station, is as aware of that history as anyone.

After working for a few years at the grocery store that his parents owned, Sokup’s journalism career began in college where he worked for the Chippewa Herald from 1979-1982 as a sports writer. Since graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 1983 with a BA in journalism, Sokup has worked in a variety of different fields. After college, he worked for companies such as Holiday Travel and Taylor Publishing in Dallas, where he worked on developing computer graphics in addition to supervising. All of these job experiences have led to Sokup being hired at WCFW radio in 2010.

Sokup’s day at the station always begins with signing in on the main time log. After that, he logs the weather conditions, inputs ads that have come in that morning from local businesses, and checks the que on the computer to make sure everything is in the correct playing order.

And Sokup’s dedication to perfection and timeliness is ever so evident as you watch him maneuver throughout the various rooms in the station with ease. Because, it is very commonplace for problems to arise at any moment throughout the day, and he must jump on them at the drop of a hat. In addition to those responsibilities, Sokup must speak periodically on-air, which didn’t come easy to him immediately upon starting the job.

“At first I was nervous to speak on air,” Sokup said, “because I never had done it before.”

But, like most things, experience was key for Sokup in becoming comfortable with all the facets of the position. And after watching him work for over four and a half hours on a sunny Friday afternoon, the passion for his job was evident on his face as he walked throughout the station with a beaming smile constantly on his face.

After mentioning to Sokup that I am looking to enter the job market in a few years, he had a few words of wisdom on how to better prepare for a job in the field of journalism.

“Experience is the main thing, and interning is also key,” Sokup said, “you should have an outgoing personality, and be able to talk to people. Just be patient, and you will be fine in the end.”

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