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Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - WDIV traffic reporter Lauren Podell gathered skills as an OU student
By Katie Land, news editor

Alumna Lauren Podell got her communications degree and first experience as a student at OU.
For WDIV-TV Traffic Reporter Lauren Podell, Detroit’s mass media market is familiar territory. After interning at both Local 4 and Fox News, Podell won her position at an open audition contest through the station.

The 2008 Oakland University graduate ran her own local rock radio show at WXOU and hosted various shows for OU-TV while earning her communications degree. These experiences instilled in her both confidence and drive.

“My experience and involvement at OU is the reason I am here today,” Podell said. “I can only give credit to my professors and on-campus activities because I secured my first job in the media industry before I even graduated.”

It is also a foray into a family business. Her father, Doug Podell, is veteran radio broadcaster in Detroit and works as a DJ and program director for WRIF-FM .

The internships were required for Lauren’s OU degree, and she received help through a communications internship coordinator, but made the actual contact and interviewed on her own. They taught her that there is no better way to learn about the TV industry then to be in the station everyday, she said.

“Finding success at such a young age in this business is very humbling,” Podell continued. “I feel lucky every single day I walk into Channel 4. There is not one moment I take it for granted.”

Working diligently to overcome obstacles and criticism, she aims to turn her weaknesses into strengths. She repeatedly watches tapes of her broadcasts to pick out flaws and work toward fixing them.

“I always tell students they have to love this business. The highs are highs but the lows can be very, very low. You have to be 100 percent dedicated and be 100 percent willing to make sacrifices to your personal life,” Podell continued.

Podell hopes to grow into a full-time reporter or news anchor down the line. Her main goal has always been to work for a national news network such as MSNBC, CNN, HLN or Fox News.

She has already expanded her initial role as part of the Local 4 News Morning Team to work as the traffic and general assignment reporter during the 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. broadcasts.

However, it isn’t always easy, Podell said. “Working in TV is a life-changing experience, and you will not be able to live day to day like others. Moving away from family and friends is almost inevitable, but the payout can be worth it.”

Through her experience at WDIV, Podell has begun to volunteer for the Rhonda Walker Foundation to help empower inner-city teen girls to become strong, confident, successful and moral future leaders.

Achieving success so quickly out of college and in such troubled economic times resonates with Podell and spurs her on to put forth all her effort. “If anything, getting inside of the walls so quickly and so young motivates me to work even harder to be the best I can be,” she said.

For more information about Oakland’s programs, visit the communications Web Site.