DSU: How did you originally decide to come to Delaware State?
RALPH: I visited the campus while I was in high school; I believe it was 2000. I really wanted to see the Department of Mass Communications, and one of the students took us around the facility and showed us everything. When he told me that I could get hands-on with all of the video and audio equipment as soon as I got there, I was really excited. He also said that if I wanted to, it was possible to have my own show as a freshman. I loved the fact that I’d able to get my feet wet as soon as I stepped on campus.
DSU: Did you end up taking advantage of that?
RALPH: Definitely. I was a bit shy when I first got to school, but I realized fairly quickly that there were a lot of other students in the same situation, with the same interests that I had. I talked to a few people, and a classmate invited me to come hang out with him at the on-campus radio station. He showed me the ropes and let me stand in for him a few times when he couldn’t make it. From there, I started getting involved in the television side. After getting involved in a few other shows, my friend and I launched our own sketch comedy show, “Consider the Following.” It was the first unscripted comedy show of its kind on campus.
DSU: What kind of reaction did the show get from your fellow students?
RALPH: Everyone seemed to love the show. I think our classmates appreciated that there was programming put on by other students who took it seriously and were in tune with what the student population wanted to watch. They’d recognize us on campus and be really excited about the show. That was a great thing about Del State – all of the camaraderie. There’s a lot of diversity, students from all different walks of life, but since it’s a relatively small campus, everyone learns to work together and support each other. I think that’s something that’s pretty unique to DSU.
DSU: Did you have any other unique experiences at Delaware State?
RALPH: One experience that really stands out in my mind is the one that got me started in public addressing work. I had mentioned to a few people that I was interested in becoming a PA announcer on campus, and I was put in touch with Dennis Jones, who oversaw that at the time. He took a few minutes to talk with me and invited me to come out to a baseball game and see what it was all about. Dennis gave me a few tips and told me to announce the batter’s name. I remember being really nervous, and I looked around at the few other people in the press box, who seemed shocked. I guess I did okay, because he had me start announcing the football games the following season! I actually still do that to this day.
DSU: So that was your first step toward becoming the voice of the Washington Wizards?
RALPH: It was. The work I did as a PA announcer for the Del State sports teams definitely put me on the path toward my job today. In addition to working with the Wizards, I’m also a producer at ESPN 980, a radio station in D.C. So all of the time I spent in the studio at DSU is coming back to me. It was great to get a leg up – to not only figure out what I love to do, but to actually gain hands-on experience during my time in school.