Fredonia grad Heussler having a ‘Bash’ with Buffalo's Kiss 98.5
In high school, Jud Heussler knew he wanted a career in radio. He was a big fan of Buffalo’s Top 40 music station, “Kiss 98.5.” He went to the annual December “Kissmas Bash” concert for the first time in 2006. He had no idea, however, that in just a few years that station would hire him – and he’d be on stage and part of the show.
This Amherst, N.Y., native applied to 13 different schools and toured seven, including some as far away as Ohio and downstate New York. He added Fredonia to that list, but didn’t consider it seriously at first, thinking it was too close to home.
“I sat in on classes, toured the radio station — and that’s all I needed,” he recalls. “I knew right then that Fredonia was right for me. The bigger schools were telling me, ‘You won’t get to do any hands-on things until your junior year.’ But at Fredonia, you get those experiences as a freshman. I was amazed at how much there was to do. I was able to dive in right away.”
He joined Fredonia Radio and got his own show his freshman year. He also started his own Top 40 show and climbed the station’s ranks, eventually becoming general manager his senior year. He helped get the station’s morning show into syndication in Buffalo, and was honored at the Intercollegiate Broadcast Systems National Conference, earning its "Best On-Air Personality" award two years in a row. He also earned an internship with Entercom Radio, the parent company of Kiss 98.5, and got the attention of The New York Times, which included Fredonia Radio in a piece on today’s top college stations.
“I got to be a part of something that has been going on for years and years, and I not only kept it going, but I think we were able to make it even a little better,” Heussler says proudly.
As for his academic experience, he was equally impressed by the attention and education he received.
“There wasn’t anyone in that (Communication) department who didn’t help me in some way,” he insists. “Whether it was taking a class or getting advice, they were very accommodating. They gave me the flexibility I needed to succeed, especially when I had a chance to start my career before graduation.”
Today, Jud – a name made for radio – is one of the young stars at Entercom. He currently serves as Kiss 98.5's Music Director and afternoon drive host. He’s also seen all over Western New York, working at live remotes, night clubs and major concerts. Some of his early highlights include a limousine interview with pop sensation Carly Rae Jepsen (who had the #1 song of 2012), and hanging out with Ed Sherran (nominated for a 2013 Grammy). He’s also been part of two Kissmas Bashes, pumping up the crowd between sets, interviewing the stars and, as he puts it, “being famous for a night.”
“It’s a crazy job where I get to work with some very famous people,” he explains. “It’s so surreal, especially being a Western New Yorker. Six years ago I was at (Kissmas Bash) as a fan. Now, here I am, working for Kiss…organizing the show…on that stage. I’ve even had people come up to me in stores and want to take a photo with me. It’s strange, but very cool.”
Speaking of cool, in 2013 -- after only one year in the business post-graduation -- Jud was honored by the Buffalo Broadcasters Association with its coveted Radio Personality of the Year award at the annual Buffalo Excellence in Media Awards. He was also named to Business First's 2013 "30 Under 30" class.
Jud Heussler worked hard to gain the experience to land a job before he even graduated — because he is a Fredonian. Would you like to become one? Just visit our admissions section to learn more — and connect with a counselor who can help you top the charts too!