By Adam Rich
"Do the Zoo, the Blank Park Zoo that is. Iowa’s Wildest Adventure!" If you live around Central Iowa or have ever been to the Blank Park Zoo, chances are you have heard Iowa State University and Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication graduate Terry Rich’s voice on the radio or television. Since graduating in 1974, Rich has used his knowledge of the media, creative business sense, and affable personality to inspire young professionals.
Rich's career began at Heritage Communications, where he spent 20 years gaining expert knowledge in national media production, marketing and management. During his early years, Rich also worked weekends at KIOA in Des Moines, Iowa. When Heritage was sold in 1991, Rich took the entrepreneurial skills he had learned and formed his own production company, Rich Heritage, Inc. In addition to working for media companies including HBO, ESPN, Time Warner, and Comcast, he bought and sold a radio station and digital video company. Rich has also helped form an Internet mass mail company.
In 2003, Rich became the first CEO of the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, Iowa. Here, he has used his publicity skills to create a thriving public attraction. In 2006, the Blank Park Zoo was named Iowa’s "Attraction of the Year."
Rich still remains in contact with many of his former journalism colleagues. He remembers Bob Day (current Program Director for KCCI-TV Des Moines) doing one of the most creative advertisements for Pepsi "he'd ever seen." He also notes, "The highlight of my production career was producing four one-hour shows with Steve Israel (now Program Director at WTOL in Toledo, Ohio). Little did I know it would be the start of a long run producing live TV."
For journalism students, Rich suggests applying for 100 jobs to get the one that is perfect for you. He also notes the importance of ethics in maintaining a long-lasting career. He is proof that anything is possible, going from the small town of Cooper, Iowa, to an appearance on the Johnny Carson Show. He says, "Just keep looking up."
Rich currently lives in Urbandale, Iowa, with his wife, Kim and three children: Amy, 25, Adam, 22, and Alex, 18.