Doug Westerman Profile: Mass Communications department cornerstone


Brielle McLearen

Doug Westerman is known by many as Winona State University’s general manager of KQAL, the campus radio show. Westerman is also a faculty member and advises The Winonan.

Sophia Sailer, Editor-in-Chief

Loud, heartfelt laughing is heard from the depths of the dungeon-like basement of Phelps Hall. The booming voice can be heard as a recurring motif of the basement, is it a ghost? No, it is just Doug Westerman.

If you are not a part of the Mass Communications department, or even if you are, you may not know about one of the pillars of the department. Doug Westerman, the general manager of KQAL (Winona State University’s campus radio show), serves as a faculty member in the department as well as one of The Winonan’s advisors.

Before working at Winona State, Doug Westerman was a program director at a radio station in the Twin Cities with a background in commercial radio. Going from the Twin Cities to Winona, Westerman commented on a minor cultural shift.

“It was like going full circle from studying at Bemidji, working in the Twin Cities and then coming to Winona,” Westerman said.

When asked how Westerman betters Winona State, he threw his head back and laughed in the air, but Bill Stoneberg, the KQAL program director, was able to explain how Westerman has guided students to become better.

“It’s not just a lecture and a book, it’s listening to the student’s shift with them and talking about it. Doug’s experience on air gives the students that extra support to be able to do better. You can hear it when they’re on air,” Stoneberg said.

Stoneberg spoke about working with Westerman, which he says is easy since they have similar work ethics and ideas when it comes to the radio.

“He comes from radio, and I come from TV, so we are very similar in how we work. He puts a lot of trust in me because we have known each other for quite some time and we have a lot of fun,” Stoneberg said.

When talking about his position as The Winonan’s faculty advisor, Westerman spoke about how he betters the paper.

“I help with a postscript of The Winonan, in terms of what we can do differently and how we can improve,” Westerman said.

Westerman sits down with editors every week to discuss articles in detail providing feedback to help each writer and photographer better their work and the paper each week.

In the past few years, The Winonan has released more and more articles that have received backlash due to the nature of the topic. Westerman talked about these types of articles, explaining how they are extremely important for the reporter and the audience.

“I wouldn’t use the word controversial as much as I would say the article may peak some people’s interests. Not only are [the articles] important to the student’s ability to communicate, but it’s important to learn the skill of honest-to-God reporting and finding answers,” Westerman said.

Westerman continued, stating that in his role, he takes on the backlash from these types of articles.

“Luckily, I am away from the writing and editing day to day. I have more of a counseling position in terms of I make sure the student is properly sourced, has the properly attributed information, and things like that,” Westerman said.

Westerman usually has at least one student in his office at any given time, talking to them about personal or academic topics. Westerman always has his door open to greet anyone that comes in.

“If the University were a business, the students are the reason, we are one of the reasons, we are in business. Having them hang out in my office seems to be an important part of this. If they are needing help, I think that it is good to be there for them,” Westerman said.