Charles Compton believes in public radio. The 1982 graduate, who is news director at Morehead Public Radio in Morehead, Ky., also believes there’s strength in numbers. And over the past eight years, his beliefs have been rewarded.
Most recently, the Public Radio News Directors Association named Compton’s news magazine “Mountain Edition” as the best daily program produced by a small newsroom. Compton’s trip to Washington, D.C., to accept the honor was certainly a high point in his career, but he’s equally proud of the Kentucky Public Radio Network, an organization he helped found after moving to Morehead in 1997. He’s currently the director of the network, which allows public radio stations across Kentucky to share programming and a statehouse bureau.
A self-described “late bloomer” in radio, Compton got his start during his University years and credits longtime WVXU general manager Jim King for providing the foundation for his successes. And despite those successes—or perhaps because of them—Compton feels no temptation to leave public radio for a large commercial counterpart. “Going to work for commercial radio now is like going to work for Wal-Mart,” he says. “You can’t really cover a region from 100 miles away. I see that as taking money out of community and not putting anything back. I see public radio as the last bastion against the Clear Channels of the world.”