As a sports anchor and reporter for KTHV, Mark Edwards, B.A.’93, gets to do what he enjoys and does well. But if he ever needs more motivation, he finds a new challenge and then sets about meeting it. “I’ve always been that kind of person where you told me what the objective was and I can get to it. The challenge is trying to figure out the best way to get there,” he says. Mark says Henderson gave him a solid foundation of mass media skills and life experience that helped move him in the right direction.
In some ways Henderson was a natural choice for Mark. Both his sister and brother had attended, and he’d been recruited to play basketball. But he also saw it as a place to be challenged. As an incoming freshman, he sat down with his advisor to create a clear plan for graduating with his mass media degree in four years. He later became involved with campus radio, which helped him develop an interest in that particular area.
Everyone told him not to take Western Civilization with Dr. Ira Richards. But that’s exactly what he did. “I wanted to see what was so tough about him,” he recalls. It turns out that Dr. Richards’ habit of giving essay tests forced students to process and apply what they studied. “Everything really depended on the effort you put into it.” According to Mark, this experience was one of many at Henderson that helped him shape his talent and determination.
Mark says Henderson’s smaller size and friendly atmosphere gave him an advantage. In the journalism department, his professors including Dr. Randy Duncan inspired him to hone his writing skills and creativity. “It really helped me out—the fact that we knew each other personally,” Mark says. “They knew how I needed to be pushed.” He still keeps in touch with Dr. Duncan on a regular basis.
After graduation Mark took a radio sales job. But he wasn’t happy there. “My boss told me, ‘You can’t do big time radio, you’re not ready.’” But to Mark, the statement was just a challenge. He woke up one morning and decided he was going to get a different job, and he wouldn’t come home until he did. He landed two—one in the men’s department at Sears and one at Power 92. Eventually, his love of media would lead him to Los Angeles where he worked as an actor on shows like The X-Files. But family brought him back to Arkansas and to radio again. In 2003, he began working at KTHV, his current employer.
Mark’s advice for incoming Henderson students is simple: “Know what you want to do. …Most of the time I found in my life that people work jobs because they have to. If you know you like something or are good at something go into that field. I enjoy my job. I don’t come not wanting to come to work, so that makes it easy for me.”