GVTV claims two state-wide awards

GVL / Courtesy - Zach Lucassian
Zach Lucassian (left) sets a 650 key light on the set of The Green Room inside of the Kirkhof Center studio Saturday, April 9, 2016.

Zach Lucassian

GVL / Courtesy – Zach Lucassian Zach Lucassian (left) sets a 650 key light on the set of The Green Room inside of the Kirkhof Center studio Saturday, April 9, 2016.

Kate Branum

Ask anyone involved in Grand Valley State University television and radio, and they’ll probably tell you that creating and producing content is no easy feat. Students in Grand Valley Television have worked tirelessly on various programs for the 2015-16 school year, and efforts have paid off.

The Michigan Association of Broadcasters holds an annual award ceremony to recognize television and radio broadcasting content, which is selected and produced by high school and college students in Michigan. This year’s award ceremony will take place on May 3, located in Lansing, Michigan.

Since entering the contest in 2013, GVTV and WCKS the Whale Radio station has already claimed a few awards. This year, students in both media productions stepped out of their comfort zones and took home two noteworthy awards.

The first award went to both GVTV and Whale Radio for best sports play-by-play coverage, featuring the GVSU women’s club hockey team.

Len O’Kelly, faculty adviser for GVTV, said covering a sporting event, a task usually reserved for radio, was unfamiliar territory.

Determined to do things a bit differently, GVTV students hauled equipment and cameras down to the Georgetown Ice Center in Allendale and shot the game. Since it was not possible to air the game live on TV, all footage was edited later and produced for broadcast.

GVSU beat out all other colleges in Michigan who had been covering sports for a number of years, making this victory a notable one.

This is the second year GVSU has received recognition in sports coverage. In 2013, GVSU radio was presented an honorable mention for broadcasting a dodgeball game.

Joey Parks, public relations director for GVTV, wrote and produced a musical called “Post Secondary,” which won GVSU its second award for best scripted show.

Channeling inspiration from his theater background, Parks had his creative mind set on producing a musical, partially because it was something GVTV had never attempted before. He spent months ironing out the shooting schedule, writing a script and lyrics, collaborating with a friend to create musical scores.

“I was drawing from inspirations far and wide, but this wasn’t a talk show where I was trying to be directly like Jimmy Fallon or it wasn’t me directly trying to be like any other sitcom I’ve watched,” Parks said. “It was me trying to be original and trying to do something completely new, not only to me but to the station, and I think that’s what really warranted the win, the fact that it was really new and innovative for the station.

Parks plans to wrap-up “Post Secondary” with a final sketch to be released at the end of the semester, and a finale episode to launch next year. It will not be another musical, but he is aiming to amp-up the production value of the show.

GVTV and Whale Radio have put in overtime throughout the year with a record high of 13 different shows in production, and over 88 hours a week of live radio content.

“Our big thing that we’ll be working on next year, for both radio and TV are technology-based,” O’Kelly said. “We know that people aren’t just sitting and staring at the wall anymore, watching TV or listening to radio, so we’re looking at ways to make the stations more portable, through apps and streaming and whatnot.”

O’Kelly said although winning awards is important to the students, the experience that comes with it is perhaps the most rewarding aspect.

“What I look at as being even bigger than the MAB awards is this time of year now when I start hearing from students about their jobs when they’re graduating,” O’Kelly said. “I’ve already heard from a couple (students) that know what they’ll be doing after they graduate.

“I take that as a big award too. And in every case, (students) point back to the experience they gained working in student media that has helped them to do that.”