Aspiring news anchors and radio hosts can now hone their craft using the latest media equipment in Penn State Behrend’s new communication labs. The labs opened on the first floor of Kochel Center in January after nine months’ construction.
A radio station and control room, a television studio, and a computer classroom are now in use for courses in broadcast journalism, production, and design; still under construction are five editing suites for video pre- and post-production and a check-out area that gives students access to digital video and audio recording equipment, lights, microphones, and laptop computers needed for mobile postproduction editing. “We realize that nothing is static anymore,” says Mark Steensland, lecturer in media production. “This lab has been designed to prepare students for a workplace where they’ll need to convey a story or deliver a message in a digital, multimedia, integrated format.”
In the coming academic year, Internet radio music station WRBV (“We Are Behrend’s Voice”) and closed-circuit television station PSB-TV will begin broadcasting from the new facilities on the first floor of Kochel Center. The PSB-TV set includes a professional broadcast news desk and backdrop donated by Erie CBS affiliate WSEE, as well as a chromakey infinity wall. The three-sided set has no corners or edges and is painted chroma keygreen, making it possible to digitally layer graphics, backgrounds, or virtual images behind the on-air talent. The radio studio is outfitted with the latest in equipment, including Audioarts D-75 and AIR-3 digital consoles, Sound Forge Pro 10 digital multi-track recording, Tascam CD players, and the ENCO hard-drive-based automation system, which is the preferred music scheduling software of major radio and television stations, including CNN, ESPN, and NBC.
The new media classroom features twenty-six workstations with full access to Adobe Creative Suite software for video, audio, and graphic design, and Web-based media development. The workstations drop into the table when not in use. Journalism major Elese Merkovsky likes what she sees thus far. The sophomore interned at WJET-TV, Erie’s ABC affiliate, and feels right at home in the lab’s new television news studio. “This set-up is very much like what I worked on at JET,” she says. “It’s great to have it here, and to learn on the kinds of equipment that are actually being used in television.”