Alum of the Month

October 2022

October 2022
Kevin Rafuse

(BA, Audio/Radio Production; BA, History, ’13)

Q & A:

  1. What was your favorite class, who was your favorite professor, or what is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
    My fondest memory without a doubt was my experience working at WRHU. Getting involved with the radio station not only gave me valuable hands-on experience, but it gave me a number of lifelong friends. Whether it was playing music on “The Rock & Roll Oasis,” anchoring “Newsline,” or voicing promos for New York Islanders broadcasts, it was always a fun time.

    When it comes to classes, The American Revolution with the late professor Michael D’Innocenzo will always stand out. Growing up in the Philadelphia area, I always had a soft spot for that period, and Professor D’Innocenzo made it come to life in a way that only he could. Nobody could tell a seemingly random story, and then make it tie into the lesson like Professor D’Innocenzo. The Dark Ages with Professor Simon Doubleday was also a highlight, as were my radio classes with Professors Michelle Lisi, Mario Murillo, and Dennis Quinn.

    Oh, and going to Napolini’s. Always going to Napolini’s.
  2. What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing learned in that position?
    My first full-time job after Hofstra was a news producer job at News 104.5 WOKV in Jacksonville, Florida. I was fortunate to have an extremely great experience in my first professional job, but without a doubt, the most valuable thing I learned was to be flexible. News is a business that can change rapidly, so if you are able to keep your composure and roll with the punches, it will go a long way.
  3. What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
    My field of specialty is radio, more specifically, news and sports radio. While a student at Hofstra, I was involved with WRHU, actively participating in both the station’s news and sports departments for two and a half years. In fall 2012, I took a productions and promotions internship with 102.3 WBAB, working with “The Roger & JP Morning Show,” and doing promotional events for the station all across Long Island. Then in spring 2013, I served as a production intern at SiriusXM National Football League (NFL) radio in New York City. My duties there included cutting up interviews, creating imaging for the radio station, and helping with show research.

    Postgraduation, I accepted a position as a news producer at News 104.5 WOKV in Jacksonville, where I immediately began my on-air career as a reporter. While in Jacksonville, I also worked with the Jacksonville Jaguars radio network, hosting the Jaguars pregame show, and conducting interviews with the team during the week. Eventually, I was promoted and came to anchor “Jacksonville’s Morning News” until March 2017. After that, I accepted an anchor/reporter position with Way Down By Orlando (WDBO) 107.3 FM/580 AM in Orlando, Florida, where I continue my career today.
  4. What advice would you give Hofstra students?
    Get involved and take advantage of everything the area has to offer. Take that Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) ride into Manhattan for the day and walk around. Take a trip to Jones Beach after classes get out for the day. Hofstra is one of the most beautiful campuses I have ever been on, so soak in every moment. That cliché about your four years flying really is the truth.

    More importantly, get to know your professors and classmates. You never know when someone could be a valuable connection, or just happen to be that bridge you need for a future job. Plus, you might end up with some of the best friends in the world at the end of it (shout out to my 17 Clemente family!).
  5. In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
  6. What is your favorite part of your job?
    My favorite part of my job is the number of different events that I get to cover on a regular basis. Because it’s news, there certainly are good days and bad days, but largely I’ve had a lot of fun. I’ve been fortunate to cover everything from NFL games to rides opening at Disney World, to Hurricane Irma, and everything else in between. The downside, of course, is covering things like COVID-19 and the Pulse nightclub shooting, but at the same time, there is a sense of service and relief that you can provide to people when taking on those heavy stories.

    If I have a single favorite moment, it was coming back to Hofstra to cover the first 2016 presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. When I was a student, I got to cover the 2012 presidential debate on campus, so it was an amazing, full circle moment to come back and cover the debate as a professional.
  7. What was a major obstacle you were able to overcome to perform your job?
    The biggest obstacle to me without a doubt was moving 13 hours away from home for my first job. When I headed down to Jacksonville, I quite literally did not know a soul. On top of that, I was working an overnight shift (midnight-9 a.m.), so needless to say that schedule was a bit of an adjustment. Adjusting to my first professional job, during weird hours, all while sacrificing sleep to try and make some friends is a unique challenge, to say the least. Thankfully, I was surrounded with a group of supportive colleagues who helped make the adjustment a lot smoother. Having a beach 15 minutes from my apartment also helped a bit!
  8. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Where do you see your career progressing in the future?
    In 10 years, I see myself married and hopefully surrounded by my children. Career wise, I would love to run a radio station one day. Regardless, as long as I’m having fun, it’s all gravy to me.
  9. Do you have any tips for students that are interested in the audio/radio entertainment industry?
    Find your mentors. This industry is much smaller than anyone will ever realize, and your six degrees of separation is usually a whole lot less. Mentors will help you gain your footing and navigate an industry that can be quite hectic at times. My resume at my first job got looked at because my former news director knew somebody at a previous internship I worked. Nurture those relationships even when you’re content and happy at whatever you’re doing. Talent matters, but in this industry, who you know might be the difference between you getting a shot or not.

    Also, wear a number of hats. The days of doing one thing at a radio station are over. The more you know how to do, the more doors will open for you.
Kevin Rafuse

Kevin Rafuse is a radio news anchor and sports reporter with over 10 years of professional broadcast experience. He can be heard on Way Down By Orlando (WDBO) 107.3 FM/580 AM in Orlando, Florida, covering national and local news across Central Florida.

In 2020, Kevin was named the Best News Anchor in Florida by The Associated Press. He has also filed reports nationally for Fox News Radio and ABC News. Previously, Kevin anchored “Jacksonville’s Morning News” on News 104.5 WOKV in Jacksonville, Florida, covering a variety of stories across Northeast Florida. While in Jacksonville, he also worked for the Jacksonville Jaguars radio network, helping host the pregame broadcast heard across the country. Kevin worked in the past at SiriusXM NFL Radio and 102.3 WBAB on Long Island.

While at Hofstra, Kevin spent two and a half years working at WRHU-88.7 FM, Radio Hofstra University. While at WRHU, Kevin hosted a variety of programs, including “Newsline” and “Hofstra’s Morning Wake-Up Call,” as well as helping voice imaging for New York Islanders radio broadcasts. He graduated in 2013 with a BA in Audio/Radio Production and a BA in History.

In 2014, Kevin co-founded “The Drive & Dish NBA Podcast,” a podcast that he still hosts, and has spent nine seasons covering the National Basketball Association (NBA). The podcast has reached over 100,000 unique listeners and has hosted live broadcasts from the Orlando and Las Vegas NBA Summer League.

Kevin currently lives in Orlando, Florida, with his girlfriend Amber (Hofstra ’12) and can be found cheering on Hofstra Basketball any chance he gets.