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Joel Sucherman

Joel Sucherman

Senior digital director | NPR | Class of 1986

Joel Sucherman’s spot is the basement of Weston Hall, one of the old Six Pack dorms, which back then housed the studios of WPGU radio.

“Every afternoon, I learned to write on deadline and gain an understanding of the responsibility of being on the air,” says Sucherman (’86). “On many days and nights, I shuttled between the WPGU studios and Assembly Hall or Memorial Stadium, depending upon the season.

"The student-led station gave me on-air exposure in Champaign, but also as a stringer for the largest market stations throughout the Midwest at a time in which the Illini were among the best football and basketball teams in the country.”

It was then that the future senior director of digital products at NPR got his first taste of coachspeak — but not the kind that Big Ten beat writers in Sucherman’s day were used to in a league with the potty-mouthed Bob Knight and combustible Gene Keady.

“I’ll forever be grateful that Lou Henson and Mike White treated me with the same courtesy that they did my more experienced media colleagues from Chicago and Champaign,” he says. “I also deeply appreciate that WPGU gave me a wonderful laboratory to apply the theory and instruction I received in my journalism classes to jump-start my career.”

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