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Board of Visitors Spotlight: Trey Fabacher ‘89

Trey Fabaucher

Trey Fabacher (B.S. / JEM ’89) is Vice President and General Manager of WWJ-TV/WKBD-TV in Detroit, Michigan and a current member of CCI’s Board of Visitors. Fabacher graduated magna cum laude in Broadcast Sales and Management from UTK and was a 1989 UTK Chancellor’s Citation Award recipient.      

Having already successfully managed major market television stations in both Minneapolis and Detroit, he is a rising broadcast media management star who has provided the leadership required to build these stations into highly productive media properties. In addition, through his affiliation with CBS, Fabacher has assisted with UTK student field trips to provide students with the opportunity to meet CBS executives in New York.

Fabacher lives in Michigan with his wife and two daughters. 

CCI: How and when did you first get involved (on a volunteer basis) with CCI? I joined the Board at the request of Dean Mike Wirth and have been serving for three years now.

CCI: In your view, what is the most important or impactful role you’ve played as a volunteer? Not working in Knoxville, my greatest opportunity has been feedback and participation in our BOV meetings. It is a great forum for ideas that help shape the direction for our College. I have also stayed very involved with Dr. Sam Swan and have aided the students’ annual trip to New York City through my contacts with CBS.

CCI: Why have you chosen to support the college (financially and/or with your time)? Why do you see this as important? I came to UT looking for some direction and opportunity. The College of Communications provided open doors for me that helped shape the direction of my career and many of those open doors I still use today.

CCI: What do you hope to accomplish during your term with the BOV? Since I am one that has to travel to our meetings, my hope is to help build more opportunities to speak and help students during our visits back to campus. Our meetings are very productive, and I feel we can do more as a group outside of the meetings while we are together for a few days. Also, our business is changing so fast, and I believe our role is to communicate those changes and keep the College as current as possible.

CCI: Is there anything exciting or interesting going on “behind the scenes” in CCI that the average alum might not be aware of?  I have been very impressed with Dean Wirth’s leadership and the alumni outreach that keeps getting stronger every year. If you graduated from this college and are reading this, get involved; I am sure the staff has an area in which you can be of service.

CCI: If someone is considering volunteerism as a way to “give back” to the University, what advice would you have for them? Why should they do it?  For those of us in ownership or management linked to communications, it is vital that we have viable candidates to hire into our businesses. By staying linked to this college, we can help shape the quality of the individuals that are making up the future of our business.

CCI: What from your UT and CCI experience has “stuck with you” during life since graduating?  Experience while in school. CCI offers so many opportunities to experience what our business is about far beyond the classroom, and this is an industry where that is more important than ever before.

CCI: What is your favorite memory from your time as a student at UT?  I was a member of a group of about 35 students that started AERho (NBS) at UT and the experiences we had and how close we became as a group remains with me to this day.

CCI: Any other parting words of wisdom?  GET INVOLVED!  My experience at UT was great, due in large part to the alumni and businesses that were connected to the college. It is now our responsibility to be involved and help shape the future leaders of our industry.