The late Steven E. Smith, BA ’08, was a raving fan of GW Athletics and a well-known voice on WRGW Sports, the sports-focused department of GW’s student-run radio station. After Steven passed away in 2010, the Smith family honored their son and brother by funding a significant remodel of the WRGW broadcasting center, a place where Steven spent many happy hours during his time at GW. In January of this year, the fully remodeled center opened to rave reviews.
“We hope these renovations breathe new life into the station and make Steven and his family proud,” WRGW General Manager Jordan Grobe, GWSB ’16, told D.C. Music Download’s Jordan Snowden. “I still remember the excitement and nervousness of walking into the studio on my first day, and I want the station to continue to inspire the feeling that what we’re doing is both fun and important.”
Planning for the remodel began in 2012, at which time the broadcasting center was officially renamed the Steven E. Smith Broadcasting Center. Old furniture was discarded and new floors were installed—track lights, control room hardware, and studio table resurfacing all made the cut. The remodel also included adding compact mixers for road broadcasts, new headsets, and an all-digital broadcasting platform that has dramatically increased the quality of the station’s broadcasts.
“The space is now extremely inviting and something I’m proud to show off to guests who drop by,” says WGRW Sports Director Keith Woods, GWSB ’16. “It’s brought WRGW up to a level of look and functionality on par with the professional broadcasting industry. None of these fantastic improvements would have been possible without the Smith family donation.”
In permanent residence outside the studio hangs a picture of Steven and a plaque that reads in part: “Passionate about sports, Steven’s knowledge was encyclopedic. As a sports talk show host, a play-by-play and color announcer, Steven worked tirelessly for WRGW, never missing a beat.”
In 2005, Steven parlayed this ‘encyclopedic knowledge’ and radio acumen into a position with the Bowie Baysox, spending three years as announcer, writer, and field reporter for the minor league baseball team. In his final few seasons, he became the play-by-play broadcaster and sole radio voice for the team. After graduating from GW, Steven landed a job at ESPN where he developed a significant online presence and began networking with professional sports journalists and broadcasters.
Clearly, this young man was on his way to making his mark in the broadcasting industry. And although his tenure as a sports journalist was cut tragically short, the Smith family’s generous donation has created an opportunity for other aspiring sports announcers to hone their craft using state-of-the-art equipment. Perhaps some day, one of these enterprising young people will pick up where Steven left off.
“We at WRGW Sports are extremely thankful for the Smith family donation,” says Keith. “It has allowed us to acquire vital equipment, and the station renovations have really helped to create a more professional studio.”