Communications department expands broadcast technology

After many years without a traditional news set, the UNA Department of Communications is taking a step into the age of digital media.

Pat Sanders said she is happy to see the new equipment because she and other professors have been pushing for it for a while. The department is gaining a formal news set and technology needed for broadcasting, such as microphones.

“We’ve been without a formal news set and studio for a number of years,” Sanders said. “It was time.”

Sanders said it is fully functioning set to allow students experience with a real-world situation

Chair of Communications Butler Cain said when he came to UNA in fall 2016 he wanted to increase student access to opportunities in the broadcast department.

Cain said his experience at his previous job at West Texas A&M gave him inspiration for the communications department at UNA.

“It served as a really good model to say ‘Hey, we can do this because a similar sized university is doing the same thing,’” Cain said.

Cain said he hopes the new set will allow students the opportunity to produce various forms of digital content, such as an internet broadcast or podcasts.

“I’m a big believer in students seeing change and being motivated by that,” Cain said. “I really believe once we start looking more professional and doing other things, that will really energize the students.”

Junior Dalton Shorette said he believes it is important for students to have access to as much hands on equipment as possible so they can compete in their field.

He also said updating the equipment will help UNA and the Department of Communications because it will attract more students.

“The better the equipment is and the more up to date it is, the more students are going to try to come to that school,” Shorette said.

The equipment for the set is currently housed in the storage area in the communications building.

Cain said workers moved the pieces of the set in Jan. 26. The next step is to put everything together and plan the most effective way to use the studio set.

The news set will go in the studio space of the communications building near the audio booth.

He said he wants the space to be balanced between broadcast and film to utilize the space.

Cain said one day he hopes to use cable access to make a UNA channel of student-produced content. He also said he hopes to one day have a center for student media excellence to showcase student work.

“I’m always interested in working toward something,” Cain said. “We are just creating the foundation.”

He said he is reviewing applications for a new professor to teach students how to use the equipment and coordinate with new needs on campus because of the move to Division I.

He said athletics will need students to work athletic events to stream games on ESPN3.

Sophomore Rodrick Henderson said it is a good opportunity for students to learn skills to give them an edge up in the workforce.

“That’s training folks for money right there,” Henderson said.

Cain said he is excited about the changes in the department and what it will bring.

“It’s still a work in progress, but this is a big step in moving forward with our plans,” Cain said.