How Joe Ovies Climbed The Triangle’s Ladder

Studio E is no bigger than a dorm room, yet has the distinct atmosphere of one. Papers lay scattered about the desks, multiple basketball and football schedules line the walls of the studio and several used mugs congregate in the center of the desks producing that all too familiar aroma of freshly brewed coffee grinds.

Two men work fervently around three extended microphones, moving back and forth from responding to tweets, to writing what seems to be shorthand that seldom people could understand in a notebook. Two televisions hang on the wall: one tuned into a broadcast of ESPN’s “College Football Live” while the other shows a press conference airing on the Golf Channel.

A large digital clock sits behind a large window displaying the time in hours, minutes and seconds in red numbers, slowly keeping track as the two men worked. A lone spotlight in the ceiling served as the lone source of illumination as it hung over the center of the room.

The large “On Air” light clicks on at 3 p.m., both men put their headphones on and approach the microphones and the daily broadcasting of the “Adam & Joe Show” begins.

Joe Ovies, along with his co-host Adam Gold, has been in charge of the aforementioned show for the last six years, but in order to find where his career in radio began, you have to look back just under two decades or so.

About 17 years ago, in the winter of 1998, Ovies signed up to be a DJ at 88.1 WKNC, the student-run radio station at NC State, during his freshman year.

“I’ve always had a fascination with radio,” Ovies said. “So I figured I’m at State, my freshman year, I’ll DJ. I like making mix tapes and playing music, so I’ll give it a shot.”

Ovies began doing news readings before moving on to operations director during his sophomore year. Then at the start of his junior year, an opportunity presented itself, and Ovies could not pass it up.

“The [general manager] at the time left school,” Ovies said. “So they needed a new GM and I applied for it, and I was the GM of WKNC from late ’99 through graduation in ’01.”

When reflecting on his tenure at WKNC, Ovies recalled fond memories he made at the student radio station in Raleigh. Highlighting former coworkers who’ve gone on to bigger and better things, Ovies said WKNC is “like any other club at State” as far as the networking benefits and experiences you come across.

“I got the opportunity to attend [the Collegiate Music Journalists] conference in New York,” Ovies said. “It was probably the first time, when I was in school, that I had to do something adult. You had to plan the trip, you had to get the registration and you had to manage a group of kids. Then you had to go to New York, go to those conferences, networking. It was like the first kind of ‘real-world adult stuff’ I did while at school.”

But the best part of working at WKNC was not the networking, or the trips or hosting the radio shows, but rather something many would have taken from granted.

“Just generally hanging out, you know?” Ovies said. “It was cool to hang out with like-minded kids, and listen to music, and talk about music, and do production and DJ and those types of things. We had a lot of fun.”
Ovies continued in the radio business after college for reasons that may seem unorthodox.

“I got into radio because it was a job,” Ovies said. “Seriously, part of radio and part of journalism is getting your foot in the door, I mean that’s that way with most jobs in this field.”

In college, Ovies started out as a computer science major, but then found himself changing to business management with a concentration in information technologies.

“When it was my senior year, I didn’t pursue any of the stuff I was in school for,” Ovies said. “I didn’t do any internships because I was so into the radio stuff I was doing.”

Eventually, Ovies decided to look for a job in the radio business, so he applied to the sports talk radio station that he was listening to at the time called 850 The Buzz.

He started out working Saturdays and Sundays running the boards at the station, screening calls, doing updates and picking up shifts where he could. He gained enough experience to the point when the next full-time job opened up in 2002, Ovies was hired full-time as the producer of his soon-to-be co-host Adam Gold’s show.

“I already kind of new the environment and knew what to do,” Ovies said. “And they said ‘All right, let’s make you full-time,’ and then other things come like new shows and opportunities.”

In 2005, the station needed a new morning show, and Ovies put himself in a position to host as he had been doing just that for a Saturday morning show. Eventually, Ovies was teamed up with Adam Gold, and they moved to ESPN 99.9 The Fan at Capital Broadcasting in 2009, and he’s been there ever since.

“It’s a challenge in the best possible way,” Gold said when asked what it’s like working with Ovies. “I’m serious, 10 years ago I was predictable, and I don’t think I’m predictable anymore. Working with Joe has kept me younger and the best possible thing for what we do. It’s a much fresher sounding show that’s ours.”

 

To read the rest of the story visit The Technician where this story was originally published

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