WJLO now airing live broadcasts

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 15, 2000

ERIK SANZENBACH / L’Observateur / November 15, 2000

LAPLACE – Lights. Camera. Action. As of Tuesday morning, the WJLObroadcasting system is officially on the air.

Starting with the “Star Spangled Banner,” students and faculty at John L. Ory Magnet School for Communication Arts baptized their state-of-the-art television studio.

JoAnn Proctor, technology lead teacher and the moving force behind the studio, stood behind her student technicians in the control room and nervously talked into a microphone to her camera operators in the studio.

“Zoom in a little,” Proctor said. “Now hold it right there.”Teri Noel, principal of John L. Ory, sat behind the anchor desk with threestudents.

“Welcome to the first morning broadcast of WJLO,” Noel said to the cameras.

This has been a three-year project for Proctor and Noel. Two years ofresearch, a year of preparation and about a month of construction produced this studio on the second-floor of the school. Equipped with all digitalequipment, students not only can do live shows, but they will be able to write, tape, edit and broadcast professional-quality productions.

“This is the biggest thing I have ever been a part of,” said Noel. “But it wasMs. Proctor who spent three years researching and putting this studiotogether.”Proctor is also credited with bringing in the project under budget. She saidthe whole thing cost $200,000.

“This is state-of-the-art,” said Proctor proudly. “We got a lot of bang for thebuck.”The rest of the school is hooked up to a closed-circuit system, and classrooms watch excitedly as Noel reminds the school there is an upcoming science fair, and then a social studies fair. She also tells the students theITBS and LEAP tests are coming up.

“Only 64 more days to this important day,” said Noel. She also told the kidsthat today (Tuesday) was the meeting of the 4-H Club.

Noel then turned the program over to Daven Tamburello, the school weatherman. The sixth-grade meteorologist stood in front of a green screenwhile video from the weather-cam mounted outside the school was electronically inserted behind him. To the viewer, it looked like Daven wasstanding outside.

Finally, Ashley Wilking told her audience what was on the menu for lunch in the cafeteria.

Proctor cued graphics operator Jessica Dibenedetto to run the credits, and the first show of WJLO was over.

Noel and Proctor plan to do these morning broadcasts every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. For the rest of the time, Proctor has very bigplans for the studio.

The idea is to integrate the studio into the school’s curriculum. Proctoralready has three documentaries on the drawing board along with other projects.

The first documentary will be called “The Ory Story” and will chronicle the history of LaPlace and John L. Ory’s role in the development of the town.Secondly, there will be the story of the Mississippi River and its effects on the community. Taping has already begun on this project. Proctor sent videocameras on a third-grade field trip that went to the Port of South Louisiana.

Finally, Proctor wants to produce a tape that will show students about all the different careers in communications.

The studio will also be used for video conferences and to produce training videos for teachers throughout the St. John Parish school system.Proctor’s crew is made up of sixth-grade students. Later in the year, thesestudents will start training fifth-graders to take over the production facility next year.

Proctor will also be training students at East St. John High School.Communication and journalism students from the University of New Orleans will be working as interns for WJLO and will help Proctor in training the Ory students in the fine points of television broadcasting.

In the future, Proctor will be working with the faculty at USL, LSU and the Children’s Workshop in New York City.

The school board is in negotiations right now with Time Warner Cable to allow WJLO to use one of their cable-access channels. Time Warner wasresponsible for installing the closed-circuit TV system at the school.

“This place will be very busy with all these projects,” said Proctor.

Most everybody who visits the studio is impressed with the quality and professionalism of the place.

News anchor Sally Ann Roberts of WWL-TV visited the studio several weeks ago and was impressed with what she saw.

“I am amazed by this studio,” said Roberts. “The students in this school havethe opportunity to participate in a technologically advanced studio.”School Superintendent Chris Donaldson told the Ory students, “This is quite an accomplishment for the community and a great opportunity for you all.”

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