By Michael Gormley
In the three-year history since the Sharks TV program was established on the Ammerman campus, the weekend of Feb.28 was a milestone in their history. Sharks TV staff covered nine basketball games for the National Junior College Athletic Association, Region 15 Tournament and also streamed each game online to viewers who were unable to attend the games.
When it comes to the people behind the broadcast, many are students in the Radio and Television Production program. They all are designated to use this Sharks TV opportunity as a chance to simulate the real life scenarios that happen in live broadcasting.
“Students have a tremendous advantage by taking this course,” said Al Bernstein, Assistant Academic Chair and Professor
of Radio and Television Production, who mentions how useful this program is compared to students in similar programs at other campuses. Comparing it to similar programs like the ones offered at Hofstra, the experience and ability to work directly with a remote van for media coverage makes the Sharks TV program “one of the top two- year programs for broadcasting experience in the country,” he said.
The Sharks TV telecast conducts itself within the frame work of the RTV production staff professionally. The course itself is part of the Remote Television Production class. The students in the class range from about 30 members who alternate in pairs of 15-20 per game. In this class, students have access to a broadcasting van with six cameras (two of them being Hand-Held), a Newtek 3-play 425 video recording device, complete graphics sets up to date with current TV broadcasting stations, audio equipment, and Newtek tricaster 855 model switcher that allows the staff to interact within the game live in the moment.
Mark Burkhalter, an Alumni veteran of the program, and adjunct professional assistant, works as a part time participant within the Sharks TV staff. Burkhalter said he also regards this program as “one of the best” when describing the opportunities that it brings to student learning experience in the RTV production area. This program gives the student “a feel to learn and ability to improve from mistakes”. All the “Hands –on” work makes the experience “feel more real” and everyone in the class gets chances to work in the field regardless of previous experiences, Burkhalter said.
Student James Walters works on the staff as a technical director. His primary focus is controlling the switcher along with editing pre-packed segments for the telecast. With this being his last semester before graduating, he notes how “this year’s class had some of the most dedicated members yet.” Students from this recent telecast putting in nearly 36 hours combined on producing and reporting.
Both Burkhalter and Walters made similar statements regarding students who are interested in joining the program and what expectations are needed to be successful. Having a good work ethic and a positive attitude are the most basic requirements. Students who join this program need a passion to work in order to succeed. Some of the more technical sides of the requirements involve learning how to operate the equipment, manning the stations in the RTV truck and in some cases, getting into the crowd and interviewing members of the games ranging from players, coaches and even members in the audience.
For those looking into television production, the experiences offered here at the Ammerman campus RTV production program provide a way for students to interact with the real world while gaining knowledge in the field.