David Dial

JOB: Retiring as president/general manager of WNIN Tri-State Public Media Inc.

HOMETOWN: Orlando, Fla.

HIS RESUME: Dial graduated with a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting from the University of South Florida in Tampa and immediately began work at the college’s radio station, becoming the first full-time employee. After receiving his master’s degree in communications, he accepted a management position with a public broadcast station in Rochester, N.Y. He then held another management position at a public broadcast station in West Palm Beach, Fla. In 1983, Dial was hired as director of broadcasting of Evansville’s WNIN. A year later, he was promoted to president/general manager. He and his wife, Barb, have four children and three grandchildren (four by mid-April).

HIS STORY: Three decades after being hired, Dial has transformed WNIN from a part-time television station with no children’s programming and a volunteer-run radio station into a valuable, 24-hour community resource.

HIS PERSPECTIVE: “I’m a teacher. That’s what I see my role as — as bringing the mission of what we do to this community and to the people we associate with it.”

On WNIN’s significance in the community:
This station is a product of the love that this community had for it (30 years ago) and still has for it now, and that is what keeps it going despite tremendous odds. The commercial stations do a great job, but what we produce is much deeper in terms of content. They (commercial stations) tell you what’s going on in little pieces every day, but we try to go into depth, provide potential solutions to those issues, and give you ideas of how problems can be solved. That’s what we do best.

On providing educational resources:
Parents trust us with their children. Ten hours a day, five days a week are devoted to the education of our children — that’s more than most stations in the country. We do it because this area needs it. Public television programming is the number one source of media material in the schools today.

On his accomplishments at WNIN:
If there’s anything that I’ve done, it’s that I’ve come in and brought stability to the place, I’ve built our physical plant (415 Carpenter St.), and I’ve educated both the community and the staff. First, you have to stabilize it and get it to the point that you can be professional in everything you do. We did that and we continue to do that.

On honesty:
People may not like what I tell them, but I tell them the truth, and I do what I say. That’s not unique to me. That’s a trait, I believe, of the best businesses in Evansville. I had it when I came here, I kept it, and I’ve seen it throughout my tenure here — throughout this community. Evansville is a wonderful and unique place in that regard.

Plans after retirement:
We’re going to do all the usual things — travel, visit our children, go to new places. It’s hard for me to make a lot of concrete plans when I’m still solidly rooted here. I’ve been working in media since I was 17 years old. I’ve never stopped. I’m always busy — always searching and considering new things. That’s why I’ve been well suited to this job. I will continue to listen and watch and enjoy the things that we have on our airways. What do I watch and listen to the most? Us. Is it because I have to? No. It’s because I genuinely enjoy it.

Words to his successor (to be named April 15):
Work hard, enjoy every minute of it, and keep your head down. But stand tall and be proud of what you’re doing. They (the people of Evansville) will respond to you. They will welcome you. 

For more information on WNIN, visit www.wnin.org.

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