Radio and TV broadcast students are learning to be digital storytellers and gaining valuable experience that will be enhanced with the opening of the new Media Communication Center (MCC) in December. When the center is fully functional, it will provide students convenience and professional-level opportunities as they hone not only their technical broadcasting skills but public speaking and leadership as well.
The MCC will be one of the few centers in the nation that seamlessly blends student-operated radio and TV productions with a professional radio operation on a college campus. The interaction with professionals will give all Heidelberg students a unique learning experience, combining traditional classroom learning with practical production experience. On-campus internship opportunities are also being developed.
As electrical contractors wrapped up voice and data installation in the MCC, arrangements were being finalized for commercial station WTTF to move its satellite dish to the roof of the new facility. Nearly 30 students who are involved in WHEI radio and TV productions helped relocate the delicate studio equipment from the third floor of Founders Hall to the new facility in Krieg Residence Hall.
Two senior staffers, Billy Richter and Kristen Stahl, have affection for the former Founders Hall studios, but appreciate the amenities of the new center. “It was a blast for three years,” Stahl said. “But this [new space] is so much more spacious.”
For Richter, it’s a case of out with the old, in with the new, “Founders was a nice atmosphere, but I like it better here.”
Several spaces in the new facility will be shared by Heidelberg’s students and WTTF’s professional staff. “Both the students and the professional staff of WTTF will have access to the production studio as well as the newsroom,” said Jeff Pfister, director of the MCC. Additionally, the radio engineering room and a “green room” will be shared. The MCC has additional spaces for multi-media editing and offices for students, faculty and the WTTF staff. A spacious 19-seat classroom, equipped with multi-media capabilities, completes the facility.
Freshman Deana Shook likes the new center. “It’s a really cool experience to have the studios here now. It’s exciting to be able to learn all the different aspects of production. We’re engaged in many different things.” Post-production meetings are currently being held in the classroom. “The students come in as a group, they talk about the show’s performance, what they did well, what they can improve upon and what they can look to do in the future,” Pfister said.
Whether or not students plan a career in broadcasting, they are gaining skills in leadership and speaking that will serve them well in their chosen field. “Being in front of a camera, getting comfortable speaking on the air … these are skills that relate to career success,” said Pfister.
“We already had a strong core of classes in communication and theory. WHEI has a strong reputation of success in the process of communication, and now with the professional services added to the facility, it completes the student experience.”
“The students want to be here. They are excited to be here. They are ready to learn.”
WHEI-TV and WHEI-FM are operational; the radio station is broadcasting as usual on 88.9 FM and the 5 p.m. television newscasts are being produced and uploaded to www.vimeo.com.