father, like son
natives love of broadcasting
leads Fultz to award-winning career
is son of retired broadcaster
Jack Flannelmouth Fultz
(September 2005) Rob Fultz made his radio debut at age 3,
delivering lines in commercials at his fathers station, WVCM in
Carrollton, Ky. By age 5, he was he was earning a nickel per spot, and
at 7 years old, he joined his father, Jack Flannelmouth
Fultz, in the studio to host his radio program.
Fultz with his broadcasting Emmy.
That same year, the precocious broadcaster appeared in
a television interview for the Louisville NBC affiliate. His deft wit
took the crew by surprise.
Rob was always extra sharp, recalled Jack, 83, who lives
in Lexington, Ind. He said something they didnt expect from
a little kid, and the cameraman started laughing and shaking so hard
he ruined the shot.
Fan mail followed, from as far and wide as California, Oregon and Florida.
Today, at 39, Fultz has two national Emmys to his credit. The radio
veteran won in the category of Outstanding achievement in live
event audio-sound for his freelance work with ESPN Outdoors on
the Great Outdoor Games in 2003 and 2004. The Great
Outdoor Games features athletes competing in a wide variety of
competitions, from lumberjack contests like log rolling, speed climbing
and sawing, to ATV races, target shooting and sporting dog events.
Most people dont realize it, but sound for TV is a lot different
than sound for music or radio, said Fultz. When the athletes
are climbing the poles, we want you to hear their feet hitting the wood.
Details like these netted Fultz his Emmys.
Fultz has worked on the Great Outdoor Games for the past
three years as an A2 audio engineer, working with a crew
of technicians to capture the sounds of the games. Much of his work
involves choosing the best type of microphone for each location, placing
it for optimal performance, and testing for levels. Bad weather plagued
the annual games this July near Orlando, Fla., so Fultz doesnt
expect another award this time.
Fultzs freelance work began on the ABC Sports College Football
Tour in 1990. Since then, he has landed gigs doing audio for USAC Midget
Series and Formula 1 races, billiards, NCAA wrestling, NFL games, and
the X Games. Once youve done this for a while, people call
you and they keep calling back, Fultz said.
Fultz credits his early radio experiences with his father for his continued
involvement in broadcasting.
At age 11, Fultz passed the FCCs Third Class Radio Operator exam
to become the youngest licensed DJ in the United States. This allowed
him to run the studio, sign the FCC station logs, and host his own radio
I would ride the bus to the station after school, mow the grass
when it needed it and host a four hour show each night, Fultz
In those days, radio was a family affair for the Fultzes. Dad
gave the employees holidays and Sundays off, so often it was just the
three of us. Dad and I ran the studio, and Mom took care of everything
else, said Fultz. We spent our Christmases there at the
Jack explained that radio was a far different business then. We
had the kind of station that people really participated in, he
said. Now everything is recorded. While WVCM featured country
music, the DJs personal touches kept a devoted audience. We
would do different things then, like kids shows or live guests.
Rob had a loyal following. He was always very professional on the air.
Jack took his Flannelmouth show to a Salem, Ind., station
in the late 1970s, and the father-son duo signed off from WVCM. Rob
made frequent radio appearances, but kept busy with high school football
and wrestling. After graduating in 1984, he worked in restaurants as
well as radio, eventually enrolling at Ball State University in 1988
to study telecommunications. He quickly found his spot in the department,
and worked as an assistant engineer at the public radio station, WBST.
He began working in audio for the student-produced TV news program and
eventually became the director. On his sons transition to television,
Jack joked, I dont know what happened I thought
I raised him better than that.
Upon graduation, Fultz was hired at BSU as the on-air director for IHETS,
the Indiana Higher Education Telecommunication System. IHETS broadcasts
live classroom instruction throughout Indiana, allowing students at
schools and universities around the state access to courses that may
be out of commuting range. Distance learners can also actively participate
in classes, responding or asking questions via telephone. As director,
Fultz managed the specially designed classrooms, set up audio and video
equipment, and directed the broadcasts from a control room.
After nearly three years at IHETS, Fultz became the producer-director
of WIPB, the BSU affiliate of PBS, where he works today, producing local
television programs, authoring DVDs, and broadcasting sports events.
The broadcaster ventured into teaching last year with a university course
on multimedia. Fultz married last spring, and he and wife, Shannon,
are expecting a baby in October.
Back to September 2005