Lissa, tell us about how the Langston Hughes school got into broadcast.
LR: When the school was built, it was configured for a media-rich environment. We visited other elementary schools that produced video broadcasts. Langston Hughes TV was created in the 2001-2002 school year by Karen Fredrickson. She, along with then principal Myron Melton, set up the program with the help of the PTO. Karen has been an elementary teacher and librarian for 30 years and has taught Kindergarten, 2nd, 3rd, and 6th as a classroom teacher. She also teaches every class in the school K through 6 as a Library Media Specialist, as well as staff and has presented at conferences.
SVN: How did you obtain initial funding for your program? How do you fund the class now?
LR: Initial funding was provided by our PTO and they continue to support us as needs become necessary.
SVN: Did you have equipment available?
LR: We purchased the necessary start up equipment and went on the air live in January of 2002.
SVN: How many kids are in the TV/Video Production classes? How is it broken down? Is it a multi-year program?
LR: Our program is voluntary and starts before the school day begins. Script, music and other content for the broadcast is prepared, a rehearsal occurs, and then we broadcast live. Students may participate in 5th and 6th grade.
SVN: Can you tell us a little more about the sessions: How long are the classes? How many students? What types of projects?
LR: Team members work as a crew for 4 weeks. At the beginning of the school year, our 6th graders submit an application for their desired position. The applications are reviewed, and a schedule is created that matches student’s desires with abilities. All who apply get to participate. Included within the broadcasts are special projects featuring other grades in the school, such as 5th grade “Robot Rumble”, 2nd grade “Animal Planet”, and 4th grade “Biography Squares”. Also included in the daily broadcast are featured “Students of the Day”. After 6th graders have been scheduled, the 5th graders are invited to apply. This helps transition the following school year, as they are familiar with the equipment and process as a 6th grader.
SVN: How many kids to do the morning news broadcast?
LR: We have a team of 7 students.
SVN: Do you also do a weekly broadcast?
LR: We have a live daily broadcast M-F.
SVN: Special events coverage? No.
SVN: What jobs do the kids do?
LR: The crew positions are: 2 camera operators, 1 audio technician, 1 video technician, 1 titler, 1 teleprompter and 2 anchors – News and Sports/Weather.
SVN: Do the kids rotate through on-air talent and crew positions or are they “hired” for a specific task?
LR: They are hired for their specific task, based on their application. (see above question)
SVN: Do students audition for on-air positions?
LR: No, the application is the basis for selection.
SVN: Do they write the content?
LR: The script is somewhat predetermined with the teleprompter and Sports Anchor making daily changes.
SVN: How long does the show run?
LR: The broadcast runs approximately 10 minutes depending on special features.
SVN: Do you submit programming to independent contest such as those sponsored by StudicaSkills and SchoolTube TV?
LR: We haven’t at this point.
SVN: Can your broadcast be viewed outside the school? District-wide? Local cable access? On your school/district web-site?
LR: The broadcast is closed circuit inside the school building live, then uploaded to our school website through SchoolTube for outside viewing.
SVN: Do you have an equipment list you can share with our readers?
LR: We currently own 3 mics, 1 video mixer, 1 titler, 1 audio mixer, 1 DVD/VHS player, 3 cameras, (one used to record for website), 2 TV monitors, multimedia computer and 2 computer monitors for teleprompting.
SVN: Have any quick start tips?
LR: Even more important than funding is the commitment of staff and time. It’s a tremendous learning tool, but it takes promoting and organization as well as staff involvement in daily production. LHTV has evolved from wipe off cue cards to computer generated script, analog recordings on VHS to digital feed for internet. Growing is exciting!