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CCTV-19 Wins Best Broadcast for Third Time in Five Years


L to R: Courtney Hodges, Jennifer Roberts, Christine Conn, David Gay, Brenda McDaniel, and Moe Conn.

Williamsburg, Ky. - For the third time in five years, University of the Cumberlands’ CCTV-19 placed first in the Broadcast Division at the annual Baptist Press Student Journalism Conference held each fall semester. Previously, Cumberland’s Patriot News Team took first place honors in 2001 and 2003 with second place honors being awarded in 2002 and 2004. The annual competition is conducted by the Baptist Press and judged by communication professionals from around the nation.

The winning episode of the University’s Patriot Talk aired on April 14, 2005, which featured an interview with Cumberland Assistant Professor of Theatre Moe Conn and Christine Conn, who at the time was the Kohn Theatre Box Office Manager. The Conns appeared on the program as representatives of the Long Reach Long Riders, a group of motorcycle enthusiasts comprised of technical theatre people from around the country which had put together a cross country bike ride to raise money for AIDS research.

Patriot Talk is a variety and talk program created in spring of 2003 by communication theatre arts majors Jonathan Lawson (‘05) and Courtney Hodges (‘05). The show covers campus and community topics ranging from serious issues such as the Long Reach Long Riders and Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief efforts by campus and community groups, to light-hearted subjects like their annual student fashion show or dorm room makeovers.

This is the first award won by Patriot Talk. General Manager John Williams says that the award is a sure sign the program is maturing.

"One of the things I am most proud of when it comes to Patriot Talk is that the students aren't afraid to take risks. Some of their experiments don't turn out so well, but week in and week out, they succeed more than they fail," said Williams.

Originally the show was produced entirely by student volunteers, but the show got a major boost when Professor Williams' Television Directing class took on the show as a class project.

Co-creator Jonathan Lawson said, "The difference was amazing. Instead of scrambling for crew members each week we were able to concentrate of individual segments of the show. And better yet, more students were able to get involved in the planning and producing of individual segments."

"The April 14th episode is a good example of how well the class and volunteers worked together," said Williams. "That show had a little bit of everything. We shot it live on the front porch of the Grace Crum Rollins Center so the Long Reach Long Riders could show up for the interview on their motorcycles. I'm guessing the judges were more than a little impressed when Moe and Christine rode onto the outdoor set with their Harleys."

Every available student and every bit of available technology was utilized for the shoot. Seniors Brenda McDaniel and David Gay were the hosts outside on the porch while co-creator Courtney Hodges (‘05) held down the anchor desk back at the CCTV-19 studio. Senior Patrick Deveney directed the location interview from the production van and sent the signal back to the studio via a wireless transmitter. Jonathan Lawson (‘05) manned the studio director's chair for Courtney's news segment and put the live feed from the truck on the air. Hillary Jasper, Sarah Martin, Tyler Carr, Jason Johnson, Stella Pacurau, Jennifer Roberts, Michael Deaver, and John Hankins ran cameras, audio, and switchers in the studio, the van, and on the porch.

"It was as complicated a shoot as we ever do," Williams said. "It took all afternoon to set up, but even if we hadn't won an award, the hard work was worth while."

As for what's next for CCTV-19, Williams just smiled. "I'd like for us to take a first place award in an even year, starting with 2006." He couldn't or wouldn't offer specifics on how the station plans to maintain its competitive edge for the 2006 competition.

"Let's just say that in Spring 2006 we'll be introducing yet another level of technology that will keep us on our toes and hopefully place us in a favorable position with the judging. My main philosophy in running CCTV-19 and teaching television is to put tools and resources into the hands of my students. They take care of the rest."

Patriot Television remains Whitley County's only live local television news, and award winning television at that. Stay tuned.