As executive producer of the popular 103.7 The Buzz in Little Rock, Derrell Young credits his education at Henderson State University for much of his success in the radio business.
Young graduated in 2006, earning his degree in mass media after changing his major several times.
“I can’t, for the life of me, remember my oral communications professor’s name, but I can remember what she said to me,” Young said. “She stopped me after one of my speeches and said ‘you should really think about majoring in mass media or communication.’
“The rest is history.”
But it was band camp that attracted Young to Henderson.
“The first time I visited the campus was in eighth grade, and I was hooked,” he said. “The first time I met Mr. (David) Rollins, I had no idea he would have such an influence on me.
“When I came back to try out for the band years later, the conversations between us definitely had a huge effect on me.”
After he graduated, Young interned at The Buzz and became a part-time employee.
“I became Randy Rainwater’s producer for Drivetime Sports,” he said. “In 2012, I became the executive producer for the station. They trusted me to run things for some reason.
“I am always working toward having my own show again.”
Young said his degree “and things I learned” at Henderson are what allowed his career to progress so rapidly.
“I can honestly say that the skills I took from college were used on day one of my professional career,” he said.
When asked what he enjoys most about his profession, Young said, “You know that saying ‘find something you love to do and you will never work a day in your life?’
“We basically talk and ‘work’ with sports and music. Even on days that are super busy, I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” he said. “I am literally wearing basketball shorts and a superhero t-shirt as I sit in my office listening to J. Cole while someone is arguing about Chad Morris in the hallway.
“I have the best job in the world.”
For students pursuing a mass media degree at Henderson, Young has this advice:
“You have to know that it is fun, but it is a lot of hard work,” he said. “You could say that about any career that you pursue. The thing that makes those late nights worth it is that you love what you do.”
Young describes himself as “the loud, talkative guy who is probably listening to music when you meet him. I am in a good mood 99 percent of the time.”
Young met his wife, Neffaria, while attending Henderson. They have two daughters, Kailynn and Kobie.
“I am blessed to have these amazing ladies in my corner,” he said. “I can’t imagine life without them.”