IBA Workshop Inspires Passion for Television Arts

June 27, 2011

The Illinois Broadcasters Association workshop was held on Bradley's campus from Sunday, June 19, to Thursday, June 23. Twenty-four students from various Chicago and Central Illinois area high schools were in attendance.

Dr. Bob Jacobs is the workshop director and has been leading the effort for 14 years. On the last day of the workshop, he wanted to make sure the students understood one very important thing about their work in broadcasting and communication.

"Say it with me, 'This is my art, and I'm proud of it!'" Jacobs shouted.

Various people from local television and radio stations were there to lecture to the students, including Garry Moore, Maggie Vespa, Joe Bennett, Rick Moll, Dan Bates, Vanessa Johnson, Jim Mattson, Greg Batton and Dan Diorio.

Mattson is sports reporter for WEEK/WHOI TV, but he had advice applicable to every student participant.

"Always ask yourself what can be better about your story," Mattson advised.

He also made sure that students realized that even a national story can be localized in one way or another. He was even able to localize his lecture when a student asked about athletes who major in communications.

"Sam Maniscalco, who played basketball here at Bradley, just graduated with a major in communications. He's got one more year left of school and is going to the University of Illinois to play basketball there, too, but he'll be able to get a good job in communications when he's done," Mattson said.

Batton, who co-hosts a talk radio show for WMBD Radio along with Diorio, wanted students to realize how much fun it can be to meet people and interview them.

"Everybody's got a cool story," Batton said.

Batton and Diorio explained the make-up of a radio talk show. They have a specific "clock" that they follow every day, even though every show can go in multiple directions.

"The beauty of radio is its creativity. Radio is a painting. It's a play every day on the same time frame with all different characters. You are never able to know how good of an interview someone will give you," Batton said.

Batton and Diorio never rehearse their radio show. Instead, they are able to prepare mentally by thinking about what they what to talk about during the next show, and they always take notes.

"What's most important is that your show is fun, spontaneous and fresh. You have to be as honest as you can be," Batton said.

 "Every year the IBA workshop gets better and better," Jacobs said. "It's a great program, and you can tell when the kids get here that they are very excited about it."

Students from every high school Illinois are invited to apply for the workshop through the Dean's Office in the Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts. Jacobs selects the twenty-four applicants he thinks will gain the most from the experience.

"These are all high school students who have an interest in broadcast or journalism at their high schools. They've all worked at their student papers or student radio stations, so they've all had some experience and they've expressed an interest in wanting to go into this profession," Jacobs said.

One of the workshop's counselors, Courtney Shattuck, had her own influential experience at the workshop just five years ago. Thanks to the workshop she is now a Bradley student and works for WMBD. 

"It definitely sealed the deal," Shattuck said, noting that five students from her workshop class now attend Bradley.