WGVU assistant general manager receives Silver Circle Award

GVL / Courtesy - WGVU
Jay Lowe, pictured with his wife Colleen Lowe, receives the Silver Circle Award in Birmingham, Mich. on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017.


GVL / Courtesy – WGVU Jay Lowe, pictured with his wife Colleen Lowe, receives the Silver Circle Award in Birmingham, Mich. on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017.

Meghan McBrady

Jay Lowe would rather be doing the interviews than being interviewed.

With over 34 years of experience in television broadcasting, Lowe, the assistant general manager at WGVU Public Media in Grand Rapids, was honored with the Michigan Silver Circle Award by The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

Lowe said he was flattered to receive the Silver Circle Award, which honors media professionals who began their careers in television at least 25 years ago.

“It’s quite an honor to receive this,” he said. “But I really feel much honored to be working at WGVU and at Grand Valley State.”

An Emmy Award winner and a five-time winner of the Michigan AP Award for Best Live Sports, Lowe originally wanted to be a professional football player. Calling himself a “second/third-string quarterback on a not very good football team,” Lowe said he was looking for excitement and a challenge beyond football.

Getting into broadcasting felt right, he said.

“It was the right fit for me,” he said. “Every day was different, every day was a challenge, every day you work with several talented people and try to make things better. Live television was always fun, and broadcasting was always exciting.”

He attained his bachelor’s degree in telecommunications at Michigan State University and his master’s degree in communications at Grand Valley State University.

Interning at WLNS-TV in Lansing his senior year at MSU, Lowe worked his way up from working in production to stage and later as a director at the station.

In 1986, he began work at WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, working as a director, production manager and operations supervisor, which included overseeing and directing special event broadcasts for the station.

Lowe said after 29 years at WZZM-TV, he wanted a change and began working at WGVU in 2015 as the assistant general manager to provide educational and entertaining programs to the West Michigan community.

Michael Walenta, the general manager at WGVU, said Lowe receiving the Silver Circle Award, being in the “game” for more than 25 years, showed his dedication to the broadcasting industry.

“You have someone that has over three decades of experience in the broadcast business,” Walenta said. “Not that many people hang with it in any industry anymore. That’s why it’s such an honor.”

During his career, Lowe has covered political town hall meetings, campaign trails, telethons and various sporting events, but he said one of the most memorable events he covered was the passing of former President Gerald R. Ford. Lowe reported on Ford’s funeral while he was at WZZM-TV.

Lowe said Ford’s death brought about local and national coverage that lasted for days. Ford died Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2006 and was buried on a hillside north of Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2007.

“I remember we arranged to have one of the suites in the Amway, the outdoor suites, so that the anchor could have the Ford Museum in the background for the coverage,” he said. “When you’re looking (out) from those rooms, and you see all along the bridge and over the Grand River, it was just covered in satellite trucks from all over the country.

“Just covering all the dignitaries coming to town, the airport, the processions, the service at the church in East Grand Rapids, that was quite a big event. But all of (the news events), from big to small, were fun, and each one has their own challenges.”

Being part of WGVU, coupled with working with students at GVSU, Lowe said he is proud of the work being conducted within the company.

Having a part in the news process and telling a new story every day, he said, demonstrates why he is happy to work with WGVU in providing new and interesting content for the public.

“I feel very fortunate to work here for WGVU and Grand Valley State University,” he said.

For more information about WGVU and its projects, visit www.wgvu.org/home/.