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Jack McMullen 1979About the Contest

The Second Annual Jack McMullen Memorial Radio Production Contest is open to all students with or without linking it to a course. The theme for 2012 Contest is “FOOD AND FAYETTE COUNTY.”

The contest is named for Jack McMullen, who was a radio announcer in Fayette County for 50 years on WMBS, WCVI, WPQR, KQV, and other stations in the area and around the country. He was an oral historian, and his specialty was telling stories on the radio.

Tomorrow’s history is the story that you record today. Most of the entries in the Oral History project, located in the Coal and Coke Heritage Center, are about the past. This contest may update the project with the telling of the way things are now.

Contestants must model their production format on: Ira Glass’ This American Life on National Public Radio. This American Life is a weekly hour-long radio program produced by Chicago Public Radio and hosted by Ira Glass. Primarily a journalistic non-fiction program, it has also featured essays, memoirs, field recordings, short fiction, and found footage. Listen to the show and the archives on the web at http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives

WMBS 590 AM and THE LION 90.7 FM University Park Campus will interview the winner and play the winning production

Jack McMullen 1954Prizes for Qualified Submissions

  • $150 first prize
  • $75 second prize
  • up to $100 bonuses for excellence in production


  • Register by November 15, 2011 by emailing Contest Coordinator Dr. F. Russell Filburn at frf1@psu.edu
  • Include name, phone, email address, and this message:
    “I am registering for the Jack McMullen Radio Production contest, and I will attend the workshop on (choose NOV 17 or NOV 29). I am currently enrolled, and I plan to attend Spring Semester 2012.”


  • Attend a radio production workshop Thursday, November 17 or Tuesday, November 29 with Dr. Filburn
  • Email MP3 submission by February 29, 2012 to JackMcMullenRadioContest@gmail.com
  • Submission must be between eight and 15 minutes of quality oral history. Submissions are not to be a “spoken essay,” but a fully produced segment with background music, interviews, descriptions, etc., following closely the format of “This American Life” series on NPR
  • If you are in a class that accepts this as a project, arrange consideration for credit directly with the professor; entries may be eligible for the Learning Fair.
  • Prerequisite: you must be a currently enrolled part-time or full-time student at Penn State on February 29, 2012. Two-person teams are permitted but both students must be enrolled.


  • Bobby Salitrik in 101 B Eberly will assist you with instruction on production techniques, and you can use the equipment in the Media Lab. Contact her for an appointment at bgs1@psu.edu or call 724-430-4159

Contest Judge

John A. McMullen II will be the contest judge for this second year. McMullen lives in Oakland, California, where he runs a business that markets the performing arts. He is the theatre reviewer for the Berkeley Daily Planet, a member of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, the American Theatre Critics Association, and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. He has been on the theatre faculty at City College of San Francisco, Los Medanos College, and holds an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University. He “grew up in a radio station” when WMBS was on the eleventh floor of the Fayette National Bank Building, and was a freshman announcer at WDUQ when it was just a campus radio station. He was in the first class at Fayette Campus in the mid-sixties when classes were held at Central School and Central Christian Church in downtown Uniontown, and he was the editor of the Roaring Lion campus newspaper. The contest is funded by the McMullen Family.

Media Material Release

All entries submitted in the Jack McMullen Memorial Radio Production Contest become the property of John A. McMullen II and The Pennsylvania State University; the contestant releases and cedes all rights and control to them. McMullen and/or The Pennsylvania State University may publish, lease, or contract with any other for the broadcast or publishing by any means of the entry. The entrant releases McMullen and The Pennsylvania State University from responsibility for any violation of personal or proprietary right he/she may have in connection with this use. In the case of any conflict, Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus will determine the outcome. All proceeds from any and all royalties or fees resulting from any use of contest entries will accrue solely to Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus for the specific use of funding this contest.