by Linda Hass, Published November 13, 2013
Joshua Dye isn’t content to merely learn theories about producing and directing a TV show. The Eastern Michigan University double major in electronic media and journalism is intent on gaining the hands-on skills that build a resume and prepare for a career, thanks to E-TV, Eastern’s campus cable television station.
“When I found out that EMU produced its own shows on campus, I had to get involved anyway I could,” says Dye, one of about 20 students who volunteer for the student-produced station that airs on Channel 18 and on YouTube.
Dye’s experiences during his two years at E-TV include operating a camera, directing, and producing the Eagle Sports Update. “This work has earned me ‘producer’ and ‘writer’ credit, which looks good on a resume and shows employers I have the credentials to do the job,” says Dye, who is on track to earn a bachelor’s degree in spring 2014.
About 90% of the station is student-driven, says Keith Damron, an associate professor in Communication, Media and Theatre Arts and an adviser to E-TV. The station is an extension of Eastern Michigan University Division of Communications. “E-TV not only develops and fine tunes students’ skills, it’s a showcase for their talents,” Damron says. The station hosts several student-driven shows, from campus magazines to sports talk, he adds.
E-TV has come a long way since John Rice, campus cable coordinator, helped found it 20 years ago. “The station started with only four students, but has increasingly added more as students have discovered the hands-on opportunities available,” says Rice, also known on campus as the “video guy.”
One of those students is Megan Lanctot, a sophomore electronic media and film studies major. “I couldn’t pass an opportunity to get experience handling equipment not available elsewhere,” says Lanctot, a camera operator and floor manager for E-TV. “Volunteering on E-TV also has given me a glimpse into the business world and made me feel more confident in my abilities and career goals,” adds Lanctot, who dreams of becoming a film director.
Shanna Gilkeson, (BS ’13), a graduate assistant on track to receive a master’s degree in written communication in 2015, feels the same way. “I returned to Eastern for my bachelor’s degree after a 20-year hiatus. I wasn’t sure about a lot of things, including my career path. My experience at E-TV renewed my confidence and confirmed my goal of teaching writing at the college level in the electronic media discipline.
“E-TV also is a lot of fun. The crew has a close spirit of camaraderie,” says Gilkeson, director of promotions for E-TV and president of the E-TV Club, which meets once a week to assist with shows, among activities.
“Current or incoming students of any major are welcome to join the E-TV Club,” she adds. “It’s a great way to meet people and learn new skills.”