by Jyrell Wynn
Dr. Laurence Etling, an associate professor of Mass Media at VSU since 1999, died this week.
Dr. Etling taught a number of classes in the College of the Arts, including radio and television announcing and audio production.
Late Wednesday night, many of Dr.Etling’s students expressed sadness as they remembered him fondly.
“Dr. Etling was a humble, kind and knowledgeable man,” said Morgan Matthews, a mass media student. “We always knew he had a passion for what he did and made sure his students had all the proper resources to succeed.”
Many students remembered him as a kind-hearted teacher.
“He was an easy-going professor who had a sweet spirit. He will definitely be missed,” said Taymara Tait, a student of Etling’s.
Radio was Etling’s area of expertise and his interest led to first book in 2011.
After working as a disc jockey for 15 years, he became fascinated with movies about radio stations and DJs that led him to research movies for over a year with radio as the subject.
Using his research, he wrote a paper from his results that attracted the interest of McFarland and Company, a North Carolina publishing company that wanted to produce a book with his material.
After signing a contract with the company, he spent over two years watching movies released since 1926 and documented how radio was portrayed in each film.
His book “Radio in the Movies: A History and Filmography, 1926-2010” included chapters that discussed radio film themes, famous DJs, sports broadcasting, religious radio and eccentric listeners in movies.
In 2012, Dr. Etling was involved in a major car accident that left him in the hospital for an extended period of time.
On Wednesday night, students remembered him as a professor who maintained a professional interest that he shared with his classes.
“No matter how long he had been in the media sector, he always stayed on top of popular culture and taught me a thing or two about what was really going on,” said Matthews. “Being able to attend classes with him was always a special experience.”