Change. It’s something many people don’t deal with well. In this case, it was for the better at Cedar Springs High School. In 2012, drama teacher Justin Harnden took over the television program at CSHS. The second he took it over many changes were made to the C.S.T.V. program. The program bought brand new cameras, computers, TVs, and much more. He started working on getting his students to film sporting events, work on Public Service Announcements, capture the latest news in the school, and the biggest change, start announcing play-by-play.
“We are here to put out more than just news for our school and community. We are doing sports, award shows, graduation, Red Flannel things, and much more. We are destined for great things,” expresses Harnden.
With one year under his belt, Harnden started to submit C.S.T.V.’s work to MHSAA. After the fall season of 2013, Thom Lengyel and Ken Kolb, who are a part of the Student Broadcast Foundation, heard C.S.T.V. production students Kyle Maka and Kody Hall perform play-by-play for one of the Cedar Springs’ football games. After listening to both of them, Lengyel contacted Harnden and offered for Maka, Hall, and the rest of the class to come down to Ford Field. Lengyel explained to Harnden that the trip to Ford Field would give the class a chance to receive a behind the scenes look at what goes on during a broadcast and give Maka and Hall a chance to call the Division 1 state championship high school football game.
On Saturday, Nov. 30 the C.S.T.V. Production program traveled out of their little town of Cedar Springs, Michigan to face the big town of Detroit, Michigan. The day started out with the students boarding the bus at 8:15 a.m. for a three-hour drive to the east side of the state. Once the students stepped off the bus they received their press passes. This gave them full access to walk out onto the field, and sit in press row. Once the class arrived at Ford Field, they traveled up to the seventh floor to meet Lengyel. Lengyel then introduced the class to Kolb, showed them where Fox Sports does all of their announcing, and showed them where press row was located. After all of that was done, it was time for Maka and Hall to announce play-by-play for the Division 1 championship. Another member of C.S.T.V., Alex Hughes, also received a chance to announce play-by-play for the game.
Coming from a town with an estimated 3,500 people in it, the three boys were not used to a big stage. A lot of the community would annually attend our high school football games, but nothing to the caliber of what the three boys were about to announce.
“Doing the play by play was just amazing. I felt on top of the world. It was the best experience of my life,” comments Maka.
“It was honestly a feeling that I’ve never felt before…. It almost didn’t seem real at first, but once I opened up [to] the environment I had an amazing time,” states Hughes.
While the three boys were announcing play-by-play, the rest of the class received the opportunity to walk onto the field and sit in press row. After the game, the students received the chance to walk through the Fox Sports trailers. These trailers are where all of the action happens. Being able to walk through these trailers was a once in a lifetime experience for the C.S.T.V program.
“I thought looking around the Fox Sports Detroit mobile studio was eye opening. Seeing two of the three trucks that will handle all the production aspects of the Super Bowl was really great. We were able to see all that goes on in that setting and we were amazed by it,” explains Harnden.
“Getting to tour Fox Sports was crazy because normally the behind the scenes work isn’t seen at all, so that opportunity was perfect for the class,” says Hall.
After the students toured the buses, they all headed back up to the seventh floor to grab their things, say their goodbyes, and thank Lengyel and Kolb for the opportunity. Right before the class got ready to leave Lengyel had a few words to say to the class. He told the class how well they were behaved and how well the three boys did at calling the game.
“Getting those compliments from someone who has been in the business for so long was quite overwhelming, especially for myself not knowing much about football and being the first time doing commentary,” says Hughes.
“[I had] a sense of joy and pride. I was so glad that somebody of his job caliber enjoyed how we did…” tells Hall.
“When Thom gave us those compliments, I just could not stop smiling. When Thom said that we were just as good on our fourth game as those who have been calling games for four years, just made me believe that this is something I can really do for the rest of my life. I hope that dream comes true,” comments Maka.
Not only did Lengyel and the rest of their class believe they did a great job, Maka, Hughes, and Hall’s teacher also believed that they did exceptional.
“I thought Kyle, Kody, and Alex did a great job. This was only the fourth game that they have called and they went above and beyond our expectations. Everyone involved with the production was impressed with what they did,” states Harnden.
The students were able to take away many things from traveling to Ford Field. Going behind the scenes of Fox Sports is something not many people get a chance to say that they did. The class and Harden believe it was very beneficial to be able to participate in an experience like this.
“The students were exposed to a lot of aspects within media production. From press row, to the Fox Sports Detroit mobile studio, calling the game on the radio, and being allowed to see every aspect of a big stadium production really was eye opening,” explains Harnden.
The experience of traveling to Ford Field was definitely an experience that none of the class members will ever forget. Not only did they have a blast, but they learned a ton too.
“I definitely think that the trip benefited the class because we [were all able] to see things about professional broadcasting that most people can’t. [Also] we [were able] to learn what it takes to make a professional broadcast,” says Maka.
The day after the program traveled to Ford Field, Lengyel emailed Harnden about C.S.T.V. Production and his view on their performance.
“Yesterday, before I uploaded your mp3 file to your class email and apps account, and after trimming the front and tale of the dead air (that is the only editing I did. The rest of the file has no editing done on it), during the broadcast I knew that they were doing a good job,” expresses Thom. “So I wanted to listen to their broadcast when I got home. I could not put the mp3 player down. I did not pause it until halftime. For their fifth broadcast, listening to their preparation come out in the broadcast, changed my opinion to they hit it out of the park.”
Lengyel has been in the business for many years. Having a compliment like that from a man with so much experience really hit home for the C.S.T.V. Production program.
If you would like to see what C.S.T.V. is all about, like us on Facebook “CSTV”, follow us on Twitter “@CedarSpringsTV”, visit our website, “www.cedarspringstv.com” and make sure to watch our newscasts and listen for our play by play on MHSAA!
C.S.T.V. Production truly wants to thank the Student Broadcast Foundation for the opportunity that they were given. And a special thanks to Lengyel and Kolb for selecting C.S.T.V. and helping them with advancing their program to the next level.
Hughes states, “I can’t thank the Student Broadcast Foundation and the MHSAA enough for letting our class have the opportunity to go to Ford Field and experience everything that we did. I would also like to thank our teacher Justin Harnden for turning around our TV Pro program… Lastly, I would like to thank our class for always being there for one another and making this year memorable.”