The PHTV program at Payson High School in Payson, Utah is a CTE program that has had considerable growth over the last five years.
The broadcast program produces a live news broadcast daily called ‘The Pride’, live broadcast of every home sporting event, and a monthly online magazine for the school. The video program focuses more on the video production aspects of short films, commercials, PSA, etc. Between the two sides, at least one fifth of all students at the high school take a TV/Video class of some sort.
Tell us about your background and how you decided to start teaching TV/Video production?
My senior year in college I was offered an internship at a local cable station that was just starting. I was a business management major, but I found that I really enjoyed editing and producing live content during my time there. After I graduated and finished my college football eligibility, the same cable station had me announce the college football games for a couple of years. When a business and TV teaching job opened up in my hometown, I decided to apply. I taught TV Broadcasting, Digital Media, Marketing, Accounting I and II, and Financial Literacy. When I started there were 14 students in the TV program. Now, I only teach TV/Video and we average around 250-300 students a year in the program.
How did you obtain initial funding for your program? How do you fund the class now?
We are a Career and Technical Education program so most of our money comes from the our district and state. We had some basic equipment when I started, but we needed much more. As the program grew, we were able to get the needed equipment for each step in the growth plan. The district and school have really supported the program. We have also sold advertisements and sponsorships as well to help raise a little extra money to buy equipment that we needed here and there.
Did you have equipment available?
When we started, we had a couple of cameras and the classroom set of iMacs. Now we have roughly 16 DSLR, 16 handheld camcorders, 5 Studio cameras, as well as a Tricaster 460 and 3Play.
We didn’t have a studio when I started, so we converted a part of the classroom into the studio. We still don’t have much for studio equipment, but the students have painted walls, canvases, desks, etc to make it work as best as possible.
How many kids are in the TV/Video Production classes? How is it broken down? Is it a multi-year program?
We offer a couple of different classes here at Payson High School.
TV Broadcasting 1 - Is a full year beginner class that helps create content for the The Pride, as well as being responsible for all of the sporting events that we broadcast (around 50 events a year). This class typically has two sections for a total of 70 students a year.
TV Broadcasting 2 - Is a full year class that is responsible for the daily news program, ‘The Pride’, for the school. The class is typically for juniors and seniors. It is also broken down into two sections, one on each day. Students have to take any of the other TV/video classes as a prerequisite to be apart of this class. We usually have 50-60 students.
Broadcast Journalism - This class a full year class that is in charge of creating our school’s online magazine titled ‘The Mane Street Journal.’ The magazine is a combination of video, articles, and photography. It is published once a month. This class has around 20 students.
Video Production 1- This is a half year beginner class that students produce short films, commercials, PSA, etc. In a year we typically have around 70 students that take this class.
Outdoor Video Production - This class is the same as Video Production, but with an aim to create outdoor focused videos (hunting, fishing, snowboarding, motorcycle/ 4wheeler riding, etc). This is the first year offering this class, but both sections filled to capacity of 35. So for the year we will have 70 students in the class as well.
How many kids to do the morning news broadcast?
Our TV Broadcasting 2 students are in charge of our morning news broadcast. They are broken into groups of 8-15 students to produce the broadcast. Each group is responsible for one show a week.
Do your students capture other school events? Sports? Assemblies? Board meetings? Musical Performances?
We live broadcast every home sporting event where internet is available. This includes boys and girls basketball, wrestling, football, volleyball, boys and girls soccer, baseball and softball. In total we broadcast 50 plus sporting events a year. We also do some of the assemblies as well as other events that the school puts on.
What jobs do the kids do? Do the kids rotate through on-air talent and crew positions or are they “hired” for a specific task?
For a morning news broadcast we have the following positions: Executive Producer, Talent, Technical Director, Teleprompter, Sound Engineer, Camera Operators, and a Floor Director. Our show is completely student produced. They plan and choose the positions that they want to do for each show. Most students rotate through all of the positions, but some students don’t want to be the on-air talent.
Do students audition for on-air positions?
No, they choose what they want to do for every show. They just have to work together to make sure all of the positions are filled for the show.
Do they write the content?
The students do everything for the show. They plan, create the content(segments, commercials, etc), write the script, and produce the show on their own. I am there to help if issues arise, but they are empowered to be in charge and have final say in every aspect of the show.
How long does the show run?
We are a daily show that runs between 7-9 minutes depending on the content for the day.
Do you submit programming to independent contest?
In the state of Utah we have the Utah High School Broadcasting Awards competition as well as the Utah High School Film Festival. Between the two, it is enough competitions for the students. We were awarded Best Daily Show for the state last year as well as winning other specific categories in both the Broadcast Awards and the Film Festival over the last couple of years.
Can your broadcast be viewed outside the school? District-wide? Local cable access? On your school/district web-site?
All of our broadcasts are hosted on a site called Skalooza.com. They can be watched by anyone at anytime. Our morning show is broadcasted live through the website as well as through the old Channel One system in the school. Skalooza has partnered with us the last couple of years to host all of our content, and it has worked out nicely.
Where do you post programming? YouTube? Vimeo? SchoolTube? SVN-TV? Other?
Have any quick start tips!
Empower the students to be in charge of as much as you can. The bigger stake they have in the content, the more they will care and the better the content will be.
Recruit the best students in your school, even if they aren’t necessarily interested in TV. The better students you have, the better your content will be and the more students will want to be a part of the process. Also recruit a wide variety of students. The more diversity of interests, backgrounds, activities, etc, are shown on you broadcast, the better job you do appealing to all of the school.
Think outside of the box. Students love video if you let them do it in ways that interests them. Be willing to take chances and let them run with ideas.