DEARBORN — Jay Korinek, whose affiliation with Henry Ford College dates to 1968, recently won the 2015 Arts Educator Award, which is part of the Dearborn Community Arts Council Mayor’s Arts Awards for 2015.
The DCAC honored Korinek and other award winners Feb. 10 at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, 15801 Michigan Ave.
The DCAC annually presents the Arts Educator Award to an arts educator from the greater Dearborn community who has provided students and the community with exemplary educational opportunities and demonstrated time and again the importance of the arts.
“Certainly there’s been inspiration and innovation, but collaboration has been the key,” Korinek said. “For that, I thank all my colleagues at HFC, the artists and leaders of this community, and all the volunteer staff of WHFR-FM.”
Korinek, of Dearborn, started at HFC in 1968, when it was called Henry Ford Community College. He was a full-time professor until his retirement in 2008.
He served as the station adviser of WHFR-FM 89.3 – HFC’s student-run radio station – from 1976 to the present. Korinek also hosts the local public affairs news and talk show, “The New WHFR Journal,” airing from 1 to 2 p.m. Fridays and podcast on www.whfr.fm.
In 1976, he became the faculty advisor of the WHFR Broadcasting Guild, a student club hoping to someday obtain a broadcast license for a radio station at HFC. In 1978, he prepared and – with support from HFC and the community – submitted the application to the Federal Communications Commission, which granted the license in 1979.
After additional fundraising and equipment installation, WHFR began broadcasting in 1985 as an HFC-sponsored activity with an all-HFC student and alumni staff under Korinek’s command.
WHFR serves Dearborn and surrounding communities – now also streaming its signal from www.whfr.fm throughout the world – with music in many genres from many local artists, plus information programming that is not often heard outside the Detroit area.
“If it wasn’t for (Korinek), we wouldn’t have WHFR,” said Susan McGraw, HFC’s Telecommunication and Journalism program coordinator and WHFR general manager.
When he originally came to HFC, Korinek taught in the English Department. He was instrumental in the formation of the Performing Arts/Telecommunication Department (now called Social Science, Arts, and Fitness) – where he transferred in 1981 – and WHFR when it had its first “on-air” broadcast in 1985.
He also was instrumental in the formation of HFC’s first cable TV channel from 1980 to 1985, serving as the producer and manager.
In 1988, he earned election as chairman of the Performing Arts Department, serving the areas of Speech, Music, Theater and Telecommunication until 1998. Also during this time, he worked on curriculum development — creating, introducing and teaching all of the 15 current courses for Telecommunication.
Korinek graduated from Oakland University in Rochester in 1967, earning his undergraduate degree in English, Language and Literature. In 1968, he earned his graduate degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Michigan. In 1983, he earned another graduate degree – this time in Speech Communication (Radio/Television/Film) from Wayne State University.
McGraw, a 1987 HFC alumna, was one of Korinek’s students and also on the ground floor when WHFR made its debut. She was a disc jockey named “Susie Q” and the first DJ to ever receive a fan letter. She has high praise for Korinek.
“Jay Korinek has been an amazing leader, mentor, advisor, and trailblazer as it relates to – not only WHFR – but also HFC as a whole,” McGraw said. “Personally and professionally, he has made a huge difference in my life.”