On Screen and Behind the Scenes: A Look at NCTV

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Olivia Flaherty-Lovy, Reporter
@ofl_courant
Video by Katie Jahns
@kmjahns

“Gooood morning teachers! This is NCTV. It’s that time again! Please join us right now for todays live broadcast.”

NCTV students typically spend 10-12 hours a week preparing for the broadcast. Photo by Katie Jahns

Everyone looks forward to the crackle of static on Friday mornings that signals the coming of the weekly broadcast. Seconds later, some upbeat song sweeps through the halls, reaching everywhere from the science labs at the top of the school to room 119 and the TV studio, tucked away on the bottom floor. It’s in the control room of the TV studio that a student is sitting with headphones on, carefully monitoring the music playing throughout the school. On the other side of the glass wall that separates the control room from the studio itself wait the four anchors and the three students manning the cameras that bring the studio to the rest of the school. At 9:14, the music slows, and the student manning camera 2 begins to steadily zoom in on the main anchors. The live broadcast has started.

Sean Manzella is a co-station manager this year with fellow senior Christian Parrott. Photo by Olivia Flaherty-Lovy

The TV Broadcasting program has been running since the 70s; however, the morning announcements were practically nonexistent until Roman Cebulski, the current TV broadcasting teacher, was brought in to lead the class about 10 years ago. “When I was hired, there were already plans for the studio to be renovated, but they needed someone to run it,” he said. “We started slowly, with a few kids, and over the years it has expanded tremendously.”

With an emphasis on hands-on learning, the TV Broadcasting program has grown to include multiple levels of classes, from the one-semester Intro to TV course to the advanced broadcasting class that students can get honors credit for. This class, which combines everything after TV 1, is the backbone of the program and gives students the opportunity to develop their broadcasting skills through three categories- sports, the arts, and, of course, the morning announcements. Though it is required to take Intro to TV before entering the advanced class, many students take TV 1 as freshmen or sophomores and thus can become involved in the announcements while they are still underclassmen, though the class is open to students of all grades with all levels of experience. Senior Kaitlyn Piotroski started Intro to TV as a junior, but has already appeared as the weather anchor on the announcements this year and particularly enjoys the creative aspect of the class. “It’s cool to be able to have ideas and have them so supported by your teachers and peers and have all the help that you need,” she said.

Among the leaders of the class this year is senior Sean Manzella, who, apart from being one of the main anchors, is also a co-station manager with fellow senior Christian Parrott. According to Sean, being a station manager means leading the whole TV station the week before the broadcast, a task that can range from distributing assignments to compiling scripts. It’s not just the station managers that have their work cut out for them each week, though- on average, the class spends about 10-12 hours a week preparing and rehearsing the broadcast. “I’d say we spend all period every period working,” Sean said. “You can come into the TV room every single day and there’s always someone working on something.”

The process starts on Mondays, when the TV class decides what exactly they’re going to cover that week by looking at what students and teachers have suggested through NCTV’s e-mail and Twitter feed. That information is then compiled into a spreadsheet from which students get their assignments, which can range from filming a 30-second interview for stand-up to creating the script and graphics for the sports report. Jobs change from week to week- one broadcast a student might be in charge of the teleprompter, the next they’re on camera, and next time they might be anchoring. Junior Kaitlyn Mulcachy first appeared on the announcements in a stand up piece as a sophomore, but since then has worked both behind and in front of the camera and especially enjoys the energy being on air can bring. “It was a very exhilarating experience,” she said. “I ended up coming off screen and having this flow of adrenaline, because even though it was in a separate part of the school, it was really cool that I could have my final work shown everywhere.”

With a class brimming with talent and a full year ahead of them, Sean is excited for what NCTV can accomplish and feels that the morning announcements are going nowhere but up. “NCTV really makes you a family in the high school, and it’s just a fun thing to do,” he said. “If I had to choose one thing to spend the rest of my life doing, 100% it would be broadcasting.”

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