Students sweep MAB awards

Emily Pagel

Seven Northern Michigan University students have won awards from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB).

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The class, BC 310 Sports and Special Events, which took place in the Fall 2013 semester, competed against other colleges and universities across Michigan, taking first and second place in the College Sports Television category for their sports play-by-play and production of two hockey series games.

Dr. Dwight Brady, Communications and Performance studies professor, said the success of the MAB starts early in the classroom.

“I don’t really teach the course with the MAB awards in mind,” Brady said. “Our first objective is to have a technically sound production that we can put on air. We know that the first couple broadcasts that we have are not going to be the best. We have three cameras, people running audio, instant replay, graphics and our announcers are getting used to that part of production too. The first part of the semester is just paving the way for a higher quality production.”

Four students who participated were named for each entry, with other categories including high school entries and different genres of production.

First place was taken by seniors media production and new technology majors Tyler Schwemin and Trent Bailey, junior media production and new technology major Justin Berkel junior media production and new technology  and junior multimedia journalism major Mikenzie Frost for their play-by-play and production of the NMU versus Ferris State hockey series in November 2013.

Second place was taken by Schwemin, Cody Boyer senior media production and new technology major, Jill Willman senior media production major, and Jenna Kirby senior, media production and new technology in the same category for announcing and production of the NMU versus Alabama Huntsville hockey series.

According to Brady, this is the third time in the past five years that students have won first place in this category but the first time they have taken both first and second place in the same division.

“Now we’ve won an award every year in the last five years,” Brady said. “That’s thanks in part with the CAPS program creating the course of Sports and Special Events, but its also related to some of the equipment we purchased. It’s a really great learning experience for the students and it has helped us raise the quality and we’ve also had great student announcers, which is why we keep winning.”

Berkel said this was his first attempt at doing play-by-play sports announcing.

“This is my first experience going to the [MAB Awards],” Berkel said. “Basically when we started the class our  focus was to win an award against bigger schools in the division. I’ve had experience in field TV and studio TV production but never live sports.”

According to Berkel, the success of both teams was due to the class participation and training by Brady.

“Basically, none of this would have been possible without Dr. Brady,” Berkel said. “He was the one who really orchestrated everything. He got us all familiar with every single position in the production as far as directing, camera and audio goes. Yes, we had a good team, but a great leader is what really makes the difference. The experience was absolutely amazing.”

According to Brady NMU’s participation with the MAB goes back over 20 years. Students from the class will be traveling in March to lansing for the MAB annual conference.

“We’re going to be sending a group down for the Great Lakes Broadcasting Expo put on by MAB,” Brady said. “Every year they have a statewide competition among high school and college students for different types of broadcasting some are for news some are for commercials, and they had a category for sports broadcasting which we’ve had a lot of success in in the past five years.”

Sports and Special Events class is offered through the department of Communication and Performance Studies with assistance from WNMU-TV and NMU Athletics.

“I feel this particular class and the success we’ve had with it has set Northern Michigan University from other schools that have communication programs because I know our students are getting a unique experience,” Brady said. “It sets them apart from where they might get somewhere else.”

*Cody Boyer is also the editor in chief of The North Wind student newspaper.