If you are in any way affiliated with ACU or just an avid Wildcat football fan, then you have probably heard of if not watched The Ken Collums Show.
The show airs every Saturday morning during the fall on KTXS-TV to talk some Wildcat football starring head coach, Ken Collums, along with co-hosts, Grant Boone and Shera Niemirowski.
While these three work in front of the camera to make up the face of the show, there is also a group of people diligently working behind the scenes allowing the show to function properly.
So who are these people you might ask?
They are students taking the Studio Production course under ACU’s JMC department. The class consists of anywhere between 10-12 students who are essentially responsible for how the show is run. The professor of the class is only there to monitor and make sure the show runs smoothly.
Working The Ken Collums Show is a requirement for the course as students are assigned different jobs on the set every week.
These jobs include:
- Floor Director
- Assistants to the Floor Director
- Director of Sound
- Audio Director
- Time Keeper
- AJA runner
Each and every job is critical to the show from directing different camera angles to keeping track of time to making sure the audio is in check, these students certainly have their work cut out for them.
By Shera Niemirowski’s own admission, “We are just sitting on the couch talking. They are the ones doing all the work.”
So next time you catch an episode of The Ken Collums Show, keep the production team in mind who work behind the camera’s view because without them, there is no show.
Of course there is also no show without the three stars, but this was just me giving some credit where credit is due.
Many of my friends love the Journalism and Mass Communication department at Abilene Christian University, because of the opportunities they have to study abroad, the relationships built with faculty and the interesting speakers they bring into the classroom.
From Abilene to Oxford: Above and Abroad
My GATA sister Abby Runnels is a journalism major. Talk to her for a few minutes about study abroad and she will entertain you with stories of getting lost in London, experiencing a boy-band concert for the first time and growing as a person. She was so grateful to have experienced an unknown culture such as Oxford at such a prime age in her life. She encourages anyone who is considering studying abroad to do it. The few months in Oxford were more exciting than ay of the time she spent in Abilene, Texas.
Advising More Than Our Schedule
Carolyn Brehn shares with me that although her study abroad trip was such an incredible time for her, one of the greatest things to happen to her as a JMC student is her relationship with Lisa Wiggins, a JMC academic advisor. From helping students with scheduling issues to encouraging students in their personal lives, she is an advisor to all. For as long as I have known Carolyn, she is sure to visit Lisa once a day.
A Weekend Spent in Class
I recently took a weekend colloquia called “Race and Media.” Sean Adams, a radio host for ESPN and a consultant for SportsCenter, was the guest speaker. Hearing from an successful ACU graduate was encouraging. He was a celebrity in my eyes. He offered us his help in the future if we needed anything. The professors and speakers are so personal and build impacting relationships with us.
In the HBO show The Newsroom, Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels), a primetime news anchor for a high-end cable company, goes on a rant about who qualifies as real journalists after getting pissed off at a trash-talking tabloid writer. You can watch the full, emotionally-driven, well-delivered monologue here, but for the sake of those who don’t want to watch it, here it is:
“I got a guy in my staff who was hit in the head with a glass door Thursday, his forehead wouldn’t stop bleeding but he wouldn’t go to a doctor cause I got another guy who got beat up covering Cairo. The first guy wouldn’t see a doctor until the second guy saw a doctor. I’ve got a producer who ran into a locked door because he thought he was responsible for the second guy. I’ve got an 18-year-old kid risking his life halfway around the world and the AP who sent him there hasn’t slept in three days. I’ve got twenty-somethings who care about teachers in Wisconsin. I’ve got a grown woman, who has to subtract with her fingers, staying up all night trying to learn economics from a PhD, who could be making twenty times the money working three miles downtown. They’re journalists.”
Now, this isn’t to degrade those working for gossip publications, but there are certain areas of journalism that demand more of the people involved in covering the news around the world—more risks, more courage, more truth, more determination. It demands someone who’s not afraid to put everything on line—including their own life—just for the sake of uncovering the truth. It demands someone who’s passionate about helping people, standing up for people and giving a voice to those who can’t speak for themselves. It’s more than just writing about whatever story is assigned that week. It’s talking about the stuff that no one wants to talk about—like racism in Ferguson, like genocide in Nigeria, like communism in North Korea.
At ACU, we chose journalism because we want to make a difference. We want to help people by writing about things that matter. Reading about the fascinating lives of celebrities and their problems and their fashion might be entertaining, but it doesn’t make a lasting impact. As journalists, as members of the media with the power of mass communication, we have the opportunity to change the world. And, despite all the risks that come along with being a journalist, we’re going to change it for the better.
Now you may be wondering ever since you left ACU, what has changed in the department that you spent the majority of your college years in. Did you have to take the GPS test while you were here? Was a 91% still considered a B when you were here? Maybe or maybe not, depending on when you graduated. The latest change and what I am here to talk about is a new class that has been added.
Ever heard of a weekend course? If you haven’t, I’ll give you a quick run down. Basically, you give up a weekend to be in a classroom all day and you get one credit. Simple? Yes. Time consuming? Also yes. Required? Absolutely.
I took the class this past weekend and this was the schedule I was looking at:
- Friday: 5-8:30pm
- Saturday: 9-12; 1-5 pm
- Sunday: 1-4:30 pm
Who wants to do that on a weekend? I had no time to spend with friends, relax, or watch Netflix.
This class is called a “colloquy,” which means “a conversation.” I was given a topic and that’s what I spent the entire weekend talking and researching about with 25 other students.
Honestly, after taking it I realized that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. I got to meet more people in my major, we got to share stories that we’ve had in this department, I got new insights on issues that have been happening in the media world and there was free food, which is always a good thing.
This new required course, took up time, but it also allowed me to apply what I have been learning in real life settings. The guest speaker that comes is someone who is successful in his or her field, which gives us an example as to where we can be heading if we graduate in this major. Not only that but I was able to learn more about my department and build relationships with people I otherwise would have never talked to.