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Broadcast media program uniquely performance-based

While most Tennessee universities use full-time staff for television productions, Austin Peay State University turns to its students and faculty. Thus, APSUS broadcast media students benefit from a unique combination of solid academics and extensive behind-the-camera work.

Our department of communication is preparing students for the field of broadcast through invaluable experience, says Caroline Sawyer, instructor of sports broadcasting. Our students produce, direct and work the camera for live broadcasts, including the operation of a Barco jumbotron system.
While most Tennessee universities use full-time staff for television productions, Austin Peay State University turns to its students and faculty. Thus, APSU'S broadcast media students benefit from a unique combination of solid academics and extensive behind-the-camera work.

“Our department of communication is preparing students for the field of broadcast through invaluable experience,” says Caroline Sawyer, instructor of sports broadcasting. “Our students produce, direct and work the camera for live broadcasts, including the operation of a Barco jumbotron system.”

According to Dr. Mike Gotcher, professor and chair of the department of communication, in 2005-06, Austin Peay's broadcast media students produced more than 40 live basketball games for cable television. The two Dunn Center jumbotrons, operated by students, along with platform-mounted television cameras, also operated by students, make it possible for everyone in the arena and those watching via cable TV to have a bird's eye view of what's happening on the floorfrom basketball games to APSU Commencement to high school graduations.

Through a joint University-military effort and the work of broadcast media students, last May soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan were able, via Web-streamed video, to watch their loved ones graduate from APSU and from local high schools. This fall, students are providing live webcasts of APSU football, so alumni and fans worldwide can watch the Govs on the field.

“Our students experience live production from a production truck, giving them opportunities to broadcast remotely or record such events as high school sports,” says Sawyer. “On campus, our students produced Miss Tennessee 2006 and a fundraising drive benefiting local children's charities. This fall, they will produce live election coverage.”

According to Gotcher, Austin Peay's broadcast media students are building solid portfolios for the future. “To succeed in broadcast media, a student needs technical skills that can be obtained only through experience,” Gotcher said. “Our students not only are gaining real-world skills, they're providing community services, such as streaming video of graduations to our soldiers.”

For more information, contact Gotcher by telephone at (931) 221-7364 or e-mail at gotcherm@apsu.edu. — Dennie B. Burke