Humans of Parkland: Deane Geiken
Deane Geiken is the radio director at Parkland’s WPCD 88.7 FM. He started as a student at the college in the 1980s and took a broadcasting class. This decision would eventually bring him back to Parkland as the radio director.
“It’s the coolest thing for me, and probably why I have such an affinity for Parkland,” Geiken says. “I was a DJ here and now I’m the director, it’s kind of like a coming home reunion in many ways.”
Geiken earned his degree from Parkland after three-and-a-half years. He then took a gap year before going to Illinois State University, where he graduated with a degree in mass communications with a focus in broadcasting.
He went on to get a job at the University of Illinois directing a radio station.
“It was a branch of WILL AM & FM; it’s called the Illinois Radio Reader and it is a closed radio station that required a special receiver to pick the signal up,” Geiken says. “They read newspapers, books, magazines, and even grocery store ads to people who are visually impaired.”
Eventually, he heard about the job opening at WPCD for radio director and decided to apply.
“It is one of the best thing[s] that has happened to me,” he says. “I started in January of 2014, so I’m relatively new to Parkland, but I’ve always been attached to Parkland in some way, shape, [or] form.”
His love for learning has never waned either; even while working he would take classes at the U of I and Parkland.
“It was because I wanted to learn more—I wanted to challenge my brain,” Geiken says. “It wasn’t for an[y] particular reason other than, ‘I don’t know enough about this subject’ or ‘I have an interest in this subject.’ I was taking military history at the U of I and Excel training here at Parkland.”
The love he has for education and learning isn’t just one sided—he loves to give back to the students and make sure they have an environment that encourages them and allows them to get real world experience.
“When [students] are in my environment I try and give them the best that I can,” Geiken says.
He always hopes that students take away as much as they can from the radio station.
“If a student comes in and they either feel unfulfilled or frustrated with the class or the experience, then that’s our failing and we try not to let that happen,” Geiken says.
He often sees a lot of talent and potential in students and wants to help them recognize and tap into it.
“Some of these students in the program could be really good at what they do, but maybe it’s not their passion,” Geiken says.
Taking this into consideration, he still hopes at the very least the program is something students get to experience. He hopes they are able to say they had a great learning experience that could open doors for them as well.
“Your time here at Parkland is time well-spent and you should make the most of your time here,” he says. “It’s an opportunity to explore.”
He believes Parkland is the perfect opportunity to discover what it is one wants to do with their life.
“You can [enroll] in one degree program and find a passion for something else. There is nothing wrong with that. Nothing says you have to graduate in two years—I know that that is the expected norm, but I was on that three-and-a-half-year program here at Parkland; it’s just the way things worked out for me.”