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From the U.S. Navy to BSR radio DJ

Posted Apr. 12, 2010

By Shantae Rollins

Lehota, a native of Mantua, has managed to accomplish quite a bit in his 25 years. After serving his county in the U.S. Navy for six years, he made the rocky transition to becoming a civilian and a college student.

Lehota, a sophomore, is pursuing a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism and electronic media production as a double major.

"The transition from active duty to civilian life is quite a lifestyle adjustment," Lehota said. "Although being in college has some similarities to being enlisted, it is not even close to the same."

While waiting for the post-9/11 GI Bill, Lehota found that the money he'd saved up wasn't enough to cover his expenses. In an effort not to fall behind financially, he made the tough decision to sell some of his personal belongings and pick up a few construction jobs.

"I just got out the Navy in July 2009 and started school last fall," he said.

In the Navy, Lehota's fast-paced lifestyle consisted of 100-hour work weeks, stressful work environments and loneliness, and although he's living the college lifestyle now, his days are still filled with demanding classes and extracurricular time commitments.

This semester, he's enrolled in 16 credit hours, works as assistant technical director and DJ at Black Squirrel Radio (BSR), runs the audio on Wednesdays, is behind the camera on Tuesdays and co-produces on Thursdays all for TV-2. Lehota also hasn't strayed far from his U.S. Navy roots. He's the president of the Kent State Veteran's Campus Club.

"I got involved with BSR because radio is always something I wanted to do and learn more about," he said. "My favorite part about being a DJ is making other people happy and making myself happy while I'm doing it. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and tells people that told me I'll never amount to anything, they were dead wrong."

Lehota's radio show, "Pretty hair and thunder (PHAT)," is a mix of hair-metal music and talk radio and airs Mondays from 4 to 6 p.m.

"I talk about nutty news going on around the world and talk about interesting facts and history of hair metal," Lehota said. "It is not my favorite genre of music, but I like hair metal's energy; it's something I think the new generation could associate with."

Lehota said his military experience prepared him to cope with the demands and expectations of college.

"lt [the Navy] gave me a sense of respect and appreciation of things I took for granted before," Lehota said. "Also, I have become more confident and self aware. I've channeled a new level of self-discipline I didn't have before the Navy."
CCI is working with the Kent State ROTC program and the Center of Adult and Veteran Services to recruit more veterans into its communications programs.