Radio’s Finest: App State professor awarded for broadcast industry contribution

Elaina Woodlief

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His broadcast career took off when he walked into a Georgia radio station as a teenager and was immediately hooked. After four decades of working in the radio industry, Dan Vallie went back to his roots when he received the Georgia Association of Broadcasters’ 2019 Golden Mic Award.

Every year, the award is given to a broadcaster who shows dedication to the industry at the GAB’s annual conference. 

Vallie moved to Boone from Washington, D.C. in 2005 to serve on the App State communication department advisory board, and worked as a traveling consultant with Vallie, Rickards, Donovan Consulting, Inc. 

When he joined the advisory board, Vallie said he expressed an interest in creating a talent institute to teach interested students about the broadcast industry.

“There has never been a system to find entry-level talent, but no one has ever done it,” Vallie said. 

He started the National Radio Talent System, which is the only program of its kind in the world and serves as an incubator for college talent with a passion for radio and determination to enter the industry, according to its website. 

Vallie started the first institute, the Kellar Radio Talent Institute, at App State in 2005. It is a 10-day program meant to teach and prepare students for entering the broadcast industry. 

I get the best of both worlds, working with industry professionals and working with people in the business that will one day replace those professionals.”

— Dan Vallie

During the program, 40 professional broadcasters come to App State to educate and network with students.

The Kellar Radio Talent Institute inspired seven other institutes across the country with more planned for the future. 

“I knew the industry needed (a talent system), but I now do it more for the students,” Vallie said.

 Vallie said it is invigorating to watch students go through the Kellar Radio Talent Institute and graduate with jobs in the broadcast industry.

“I get the best of both worlds, working with industry professionals and working with people in the business that will one day replace those professionals,” Vallie said.

As 90.5 WASU general manager, Vallie said the radio station allows students to get hands-on professional broadcast experience. 

“It’s impressive to me to watch (the students) grow,” Vallie said. 

Though he did not originally plan to work with college students, Vallie said he still collaborates with industry professionals while teaching radio broadcasting at App State.

“Vallie is a well-known and well-regarded radio professional in the industry,” said Janice Pope, dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts. “It’s inspiring for the students who work and learn from him.”

Pope said the Kellar Radio Talent Institute is not only integral to the university’s program, but to the radio industry itself. 

“I think that’s a pretty great testimony to what he means to us,” Pope said.