News

Undergraduate Makes Mark on Pop Culture

Undergraduate Makes Mark on Pop Culture

Current Students

By Emma Clarke

Undergraduate Harrington Ranger

The year is 2025. Perez Hilton is a thing of the past. Now, when America wants the latest celebrity news, it turns to BennettKnows, a multi-media-platform brand including a pop culture blog, a hit morning radio show, and a leading evening talk show, all hosted by media-mogul and Harrington School student, Bennett Koffa. Although Bennett is still a student in his senior year, the seeds of his future success are already planted.

     Bennett’s pop culture platforms bring the joy of pop culture to the URI and local communities, but his passion for pop culture began as a need for an escape. Bennett grew up in the foster care system, bouncing from home to home and adapting to different families, schools, social classes, and religions. “I found pop culture as my escape from the crazy life that I lived . . . [it] was one of the only things that was consistent and I found comfort in that.” Today he offers the same comfort he once found to others. “[Pop culture] is that escape that everyone can relate to in some way. It’s fun, light-hearted and open to everyone!”

     Since beginning his blog in 2011, it has received significant attention. For instance, his most popular and controversial story on Justin Bieber got 21,000 views in a single day, but has since been deleted. Although Bennett believes pop culture brings joy to everyone, his posts run the gamut from silly to serious. Two of his other most popular posts are a hilarious cover of Beyoncé’s “7/11” music video and an evaluation of white appropriation of black hip hop culture.

     A few months after starting his blog, Bennett was offered a spot on RIU2.org, 90.3-WRIU’s online sister station where students can develop radio skills. “At first I thought, ‘This is crazy and not for me at all!’” But after studying talented celebrities like Dick Clark, Ryan Seacrest, and Oprah Winfrey, Bennett decided to try it out. After two years he was promoted to URI’s FM station, 90.3-WRIU, where he plays pop hits every Tuesday from 1-3 a.m. He still holds his Monday 9 p.m.-midnight spot on RIU2.org.

     Bennett incorporates social media into his radio shows by encouraging users to Tweet at him using the hash tag #BennettKnowsRadio. He usually receives between 100 and 200 engagements per show.

     Bennett offers his best advice for students: “Explore the Harrington School and the resources provided.” He believes that the Harrington School of Communication and Media has given him a platform of knowledge and experience that has allowed him to explore his passion. His professors have played a big role in this for him. “The professors are very knowledgeable in the field and understand the students,” he said. “Each class that I have taken has inspired me to achieve and explore more!”

     Bennett is currently applying for positions at online journals, radio, and television stations. He dreams of working in a large city like New York or Los Angeles. “I’m hoping that the experiences I’ve had at the Harrington School will help me take the next step toward my dream. I’m convinced I have an exciting journey ahead of me!”