COMM 355, TV Production II, hosted a live broadcast at Smoky Mountain High School, SMHS, on February 28.

The broadcast featured live music from a collaboration between a professional jazz quartet, members from the Western Carolina University band, as well as students in the band at SMHS.

The groups practiced together the week before and then put on the concert that the TV II students broadcast.

The event highlighted the collaboration between the many groups and the incorporation of the professional jazz group that worked with a variety of students.

Matt Binford, professor for COMM 355, looks to provide students with opportunities like live broadcasts to give additional professional projects for students to work on.

“The students seem to take these types of projects more seriously than just in-class work,” said Binford. “Also, as someone who used to earn a living doing video for live music, I know there are great paying jobs in that sector of the industry and I want to prepare our students for that type of work. Also… it’s just fun.” 

Julian Vanderhoef, a first-year communication student, participated in the live broadcast.

“This experience helped me realize that I actually enjoy doing what I do. If I can make a living off of this sort of thing then that’s even better,” said Vanderhoef.

Shooting a live broadcast is much different than putting a package beforehand.

“Putting a package together beforehand you typically only have one camera and you are recording individual clips to then be edited together into a complete story at a later time. In a show like this, the videography is happening at the same time as the editing,” said Binford. “It is also much more of a team effort. You need a team of camera operators, an audio person making sure it sounds good, a technical director who is operating the video switcher that cuts between the cameras, and a director who is calling all of the cues. It is such a team activity. It is also all happening live. There is a real adrenaline rush knowing that you only get one shot at it and once the show starts there is no stopping it.”

 Because of the nature of the live broadcast, it does provide professional development for students and shows how the department is capable of helping students prepare for their future careers.

Not only does the live broadcast require additional skills, but it also requires different technology.

“We used the communication department’s new flight pack,” said Binford. “A flight pack is basically a portable TV studio and it allows us to record and broadcast multi-camera shoots from anywhere in the world.” 

Although there are no more shoots planned with SMHS currently, there will be more live music broadcasts in the future. On April 4, TV II will record a vocal ensemble from the WCU recording studio. And on April 25, the class will host a live broadcast of a tech ensemble concert.

Follow the WHEE-TV Instagram and YouTube to see what more broadcasting students are doing @wheetv_wcu and @WHEE-TV.