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Communications Studies Student Wins Coveted Kalas Award

September 25, 2013

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Kenny Ayres (Ambler, Pa.), a WCU senior communications studies major, was honored prior to a recent Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park when Phillies broadcaster Gary Matthews presented him with the 2013 Harry Kalas Award. Ayers has been a broadcasting and media relations intern with the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs for most of the last two seasons.

The award, created by the Philadelphia Broadcasters Foundation, is presented annually to a college junior or senior who has demonstrated a desire to follow in the professional footsteps of the late Hall of Fame announcer Harry Kalas.

At WCU, Ayers is editor-in-chief of The Quad and on the staff of the WCUR radio station, where he hosts a weekly two-hour sports talk show and is a sports announcer on live broadcasts.

Q. What made you want to attend WCU?
A. I had a lot of family go here and I have always loved the campus, but when I came here for accepted students day and learned all that it had to offer, it was not really a tough decision for me at all.

Q. What do you like most about WCU?
A. I like the opportunity to get involved. WCU gave me the chance to jump right in and be involved in whatever organizations I wanted and to gain valuable experience that I might not have gotten elsewhere.

Q. Why did you choose to join the staffs of The Quad and WCUR? What do you like most about being part of those organizations?
A. I knew coming in that I wanted to focus on gaining experience in sports media, and I also knew the best way to do that was to get out of the classroom and get involved with campus media. I joined The Quad as a freshman because I got an opportunity to cover the men’s hockey team, which I have been doing ever since in addition to covering baseball. I also got involved as the sports editor in 2011, and was named editor-in-chief last fall. I joined WCUR because my ultimate goal is to be a play-by-play broadcaster for a major league baseball team, and WCUR gave me the opportunity to hone my play calling by announcing hockey and baseball games as well as hosting a two-hour weekly sports talk show where I gain experience using the radio equipment, being a radio personality and conducting on-air interviews.

Q. What would you say to a prospective WCU student?
A. The opportunities that can come from attending WCU are incredible. As a school in a small city and only 30 miles from a very large one, there are tons of chances to take what you learn in the classroom or in clubs you are in and put them to real-world use with an internship. This school is filled with friendly professors and student leaders who only want students to succeed. I really believe that whatever you want to earn a degree in, West Chester will hand you many opportunities to excel in your field of study in and out of the classroom.

Q. What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment to date?
A. Winning the Kalas Award. To me, all that I have worked for over the last three or so years culminated in winning that award. Harry Kalas was someone I looked up to since a very young age and to be honored with an award in his name is one of the greatest and most touching honors I could receive.

Kenny’s Highlights Reel
2013 Mary K. Anderson Media Award (WCU)
2013 Roger and Diane Casagrande Scholarship (WCU communication studies department)
2013 Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia scholarship (Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia)
2012-2013 Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities