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Eric Von Fellowship Honors the Lasting Legacy of its Namesake Journalist

Eric Von had already been in radio for a long time when he started making regular contributions to Lake Effect and WUWM. Von hosted talk shows at a variety of stations throughout his career, winding up at WNOV. Von also was the host of  Precious Lives, a collaborative series between WUWM, 371 Productions and others.

Sadly, Von died suddenly last fall. His death was a tragedy in its own right, but it also silenced a conscience of the community. In the wake of his death, a group has come together to fund a fellowship for early career journalists, in Eric Von's name. 

"When Eric died in September 2016 we were all impacted by that... and wanted to do something to remember him and the work that he's done through radio- mostly here in Milwaukee - to say: 'Hey, we appreciate you, we want to keep the vision going;' to address the shortage of individuals of color on radio, and to keep his legacy alive,'" says Faithe Colas, Von's widow and one of the people behind the effort. 

Colas hopes the future Eric Von fellow will understand their impact on the community and that they walk in the shoes of her late husband. She wants the fellowship to help young people coming out of college, and give them an experience that will jumpstart their careers.

Credit Michelle Maternowski
Journalist Eric Von going through audio with Lake Effect Executive Producer, Mitch Teich.

"Young people have to be given the opportunity," says Colas. "They go and they apply for a job and then someone says, 'Oh you need experience.' Well, how do [they] get experience if [they] can't get a job? Well, this fellowship answers that question. This fellowship helps address the need to increase individuals of color in talk radio." 

WUWM is hosting a community fundraiser benefiting the fellowship Wednesday, June 21 at 5 pm at Milwaukee City Hall.