Fugate Reports on NAFB Foundation-Sponsored Internship

Supported by the NAFB Foundation Internship Grant Program, Maddie Fugate worked this summer with NAFB President-Elect Gale Cunningham (WYXY, Champaign, Illinois).

Additionally, Fugate is one of the four finalists in the National FFA Star in Agri-Science competition. 

“I am very proud of her and personally proud to serve agriculture with her,” Cunningham said.

In a letter to the Foundation Board, Fugate said, “I want to express my appreciation and gratitude for your support of the next generation. This year has been filled with trying times for all of us, but your support allowed me to have some sense of normalcy through my internship at WYXY Classic. The experience gained during my time at WYXY Classic was invaluable. My internship was anything but ordinary. Not just because of my later start date due to the pandemic, but also because what Gale and I considered normal was no longer possible.”

With this being her second year as the WYXY Classic intern, Fugate already had settled into a routine that looked something similar to Cunningham going to a county fair on one side of their 32-county listening area and Fugate taking off to cover a county fair on the other side of the station’s listening area.

“The faith that Gale put in me and my abilities from the start was unmatched,” Fugate said. “Not many people would put a fresh 20-something — with no previous radio experience — on the air and let her run half the programs, but Gale did. That is part of what made my time at WYXY Classic so special. Hollywood has glamorized the interns being the coffee-getters or errand-runners, but none of this is true if you are one of Gale Cunningham’s interns. After he taught me how to enter programs, run the board, and other necessary systems, he sent me out of the nest to fly. Over time, he has shown me the ins and outs of broadcasting — not just from the technical side but also in many other aspects from never meeting a stranger to the enthusiasm you carry when interviewing a shy first-year 4-Her.

“It is obvious that my time as WYXY Classic’s intern has had a tremendous impact on me. When looking to the future, I know I want to take what I have learned and continue to communicate agriculture’s story. Yet, none of this would have been possible without the NAFB Foundation’s support. Thank you for encouraging and believing in the communicators of tomorrow.”

PHOTO ABOVE: Fugate is shown interviewing a first-year 4-H’er.