Students in Professor Christopher Westgate’s Media, Culture and Society class recently got a behind-the-scenes look at an operational broadcast studio earlier this month when they visited Rhode Island’s PBS station. These Media & Communications Studies students were given a guided tour of the station, which included stops in the control room, production control booth, editing suite, green room and dressing room, and the set of “A Lively Experiment”.
Students were also shown recorded shows stored in the archives, many still housed on beta tapes and even a few film reels. Exclamations of “Pound Puppies!” “The Big Comfy Couch!”and other favorite childhood shows bounced off the shelves as the students perused the rows.
The group was especially intrigued by the main control room. This is where the programs to be aired are ingested and cued up, and where station managers monitor all three of the channels the station is responsible for in real time. Tour guide and Public Information Manager Lucie Raposo lifted a section of the hollow floor to expose the intricate network of cables that keep the studio connected.
At the conclusion of the tour, Program Director Kathryn Larsen provided an overview of the day-to-day administrative operations that keep the studio up and running, and held a Q&A session where she covered topics that ranged from the target demographic of RI PBS and fundraising efforts, to the studios relationship with cable providers and the FCC and licensing fees.