Five-star-rated assistant professor, U.S. Marine, and mentor are only a few titles Billy McKim holds. McKim has been affecting the lives of students at Texas A&M University since 2010 when he started teaching radio courses. We got to know more about this familiar face seen around the AGLS building.
MW: Why did you choose A&M for graduate school?
BM: So Texas, not actually A&M, and not being a native Texan, I had visited Texas several times and I knew that most Texans I had met were just as hard headed as me. So, I made it a point to say, I will go to grad school almost everywhere, but Texas.
I looked at Ohio State, Virginia Tech, The University of Florida, and I got a phone call from one of the professors here when I was still in grad school at Mizzou doing my masters and she said, “Do you want to come to school at Texas A&M?”
And I said, “I don’t think I’ll ever go to Texas,”
And she said, “What if I send you a plane ticket?’
So she did. She sent me a plane ticket, I came to visit; that was December of 2007 and I came down. I had already been to the University of Florida, I had already been to check out Virginia Tech, but as I had been to those campuses, I was certain I was going to go somewhere else. I came here and by the end of the three days when I was visiting, I completely changed my mind. I was going to go to school here.
MW: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
BM: Seeing students do way better than I ever did in industry. I mean seriously, so you know how people work, and I don’t know if they’re joking, but it’s kind of metaphorical. The American Dream is for kids to do better than their parents. Well, as a person who doesn’t have children, seeing young people come up, learn skills, take them to industry and go make huge changes. People who’ve only been out of school a few years are already doing really cool, forward-thinking, progressive things in the industry and they’re making things happen. That’s probably the most rewarding part of my job.
MW: What do you teach?
BM: “Radio I, radio broadcasting, Radio II, which is advanced broadcasting, and the Audience and Consumer Research course, 411. I have occasionally taught a video production course, I teach Senior Seminar, and Research, which is a straight research course. I teach Research Methods at the graduate level and I’ve taught a News in Sports class that will eventually make it to a consistent thing.”
MW: Advice for those considering taking a course you’re teaching?
BM: “I would say that because it is an applied course, be ready to go beyond memorizing. It will be mostly application, and it will stretch the way they think.”
Though McKim can be described as, “tough” and “smart alecky” to some, most will agree that any course you take with him will be the most rewarding one yet.