Biello Broadcasts for NPR Affiliate
For Peter Biello, who graduated from UMF with a bachelor of fine arts degree in creative writing and now works as a reporter and "Morning Edition" host with National Public Radio affiliate WHQR-91.3 FM, the sweet sound of success goes something like this: “For NPR news, I’m Peter Biello in Wilmington, North Carolina.”
While writing a novel for his MFA in creative writing thesis at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Biello usually filed five stories a week for WHQR on topics of local and national interest. (For instance, his NPR Day to Day piece “Cybertracker Hunts Terrorist Videos Online” follows a day in the life of an Arabic-speaking South Carolina mom, who developed software to locate jihadist videos posted online.)
Biello had no formal radio journalism training, but was able to submit a broadcast-ready feature story when he applied for the WHQR position—all because of a radio essay assignment he completed in a creative nonfiction course taught by Gretchen Legler, professor of creative writing at UMF. He taught himself to use industry-standard audio editing software and produced a five-minute segment, featuring interviews with visiting French exchange students.
“The project helped me figure out how to use sound, how to write into sound and out of it,” he said. “One of the people interviewing me actually said that he started his public radio career with less.”
Biello relishes reporting with an NPR affiliate, but knows exactly what he wants to do if he ever leaves broadcast journalism.
“I would love to teach at UMF,” quipped Biello, a former adjunct instructor of creative writing at Brunswick Community College. “I want Pat O’Donnell’s job, teaching fiction. The people at UMF are so intellectually curious. That’s what I miss most about Farmington.”