Dr. Freitag is a professor with the Communication Studies Department, College of Arts and Sciences, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in public relations, and has held this position since August 1998. He also advises the university's chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America. UNC-Charlotte is one of 16 campuses of the University of North Carolina system, and has a student population of 20,000. The Department boasts nearly 1,300 majors and minors.
He earned an associate in applied science degree in television production and direction from the Milwaukee Area Technical College (1971); a bachelor of science degree in radio, television and film from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (1973); a master of arts degree in business administration and public administration from Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri (1977); and a Ph.D. in mass communication, specializing in public relations, from Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism (1999).
A U.S. Air Force veteran, Freitag retired in 1995 as a lieutenant colonel after 22 1/2 years of service. During that time, he spent nearly 10 years in Europe and two years in Hawaii. He began his career as a navigator aboard C-130 Hercules aircraft, then entered the public affairs career field. He served in advertising and publicity for Air Force recruiting, on the operations staff of the American Forces Network - Europe, as director of public affairs for a U.S. air base in England, with Air Force legislative liaison in Washington, D.C., as director of media relations for the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization at the Pentagon, as director of media relations and press aide to the Supreme Allied Commander for NATO's military arm headquartered in Belgium, and as assistant director of public affairs for the Air Force's Pacific command.
His military duties included direct public affairs involvement in the return of the U.S. hostages from Iran in 1980, the raid on Libyan terrorist facilities in 1986, and the invasion of Panama in 1989. During three critical years with NATO, Freitag was closely involved with Alliance media activities surrounding the reunification of Germany, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, the restructuring of NATO's military, the opening of NATO to Eastern Europe, the Russian coup, the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, and NATO's involvement in the Gulf War.
Civilian experience includes production and direction work in public and commercial television prior to his Air Force service, and teaching courses in journalism and public relations during his three-year doctoral program at Ohio University, as well as serving as faculty adviser to the school's Public Relations Student Society of America chapter.
He is a member and officer of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, for whose national conventions he has presented several research papers. He is also a member of the Public Relations Society of America and serves as faculty adviser to UNC-Charlotte's student chapter. He also holds memberships with the SHAPE Officers Association (NATO), the Air Force Association, the Armed Forces Broadcasters Association, and the Retired Officers Association.
His work has been published in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Journal of Public Relations Research, Journal of Communication Management, Public Relations Quarterly, Newspaper Research Journal, Airman, and Asia-Pacific Defense Forum.
Professional military courses completed include Air War College, Air Command and Staff College, Squadron Officers' School, the NATO Officers' Course, the Senior Public Affairs Officers' Course, the Broadcast Managers' course, the Public Information Officers' Course, and the Air Force Communications Short Course.