Mike Cervantes and Peter Martinez

Students Mike Cervantes and Peter Martinez work on the new KCET Orange program alongside station pros.

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New ‘OC Insight’ Program Created and Produced at Cal State Fullerton Is the First Fruit of Partnership with Public Television Station

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April 1, 2008
by Valerie Orleans
photos by Kelly Lacefield

Brent Foster, assistant professor of communications, is pacing back and forth, answering questions, peering at TV monitors over students’ shoulders and working with technical crews. For months, Foster has been preparing for this day in the studios located in the Pollak Library basement, where Cal State Fullerton, in partnership with Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) station KCET, is filming a show to be launched on the new KCET Orange digital channel.

After more than a year of planning, the CSUF-KCET partnership
was officially launched with the taping of two original episodes that will be broadcast on KCET-Orange this month. The program, “OC Insight,” features a panel of experts who discuss national issues and their impact on Orange County. Roger Cooper, former host of KCET’s award-winning “Life & Times” series, moderates.

Brent Foster and Shelly Jenkins
Brent Foster, right, works with Shelley Jenkins, lecturer in radio-TV-film, behind the scenes of “OC Insight.”

OC’s Point of View
The new 30-minute talk show will immediately follow the airing of a documentary, a series called “Point of View,” or “POV,” sponsored by PBS. The first two documentaries to be featured on “OC Insight” are “Made in L.A.,” a film about immigrant women organizing for change in Los Angeles’ fashion industry, and “Waging a Living,” a look at low-wage earners coping with the demands on their meager paychecks. Following the airing of each “POV” segment, an “OC Insight” episode, featuring a panel of three experts, will address some of the issues in the documentary. Future editions of “OC Insight” may be stand-alone shows, meaning they will not tie in to a previously aired “POV” program.

The first episode, based on “Waging a Living,” will air on April 7, 9 and 11. The documentary airs at 9 p.m. followed by “OC Insight” at 10:30 p.m. It repeats on April 13, starting at 11:30 a.m.

The second episode, based on “Made in L.A.,” will air on April 21, 23 and 25. The documentary airs at 9 p.m., followed by “OC Insight” at 10:30 p.m. It repeats on April 27, starting at 10:30 p.m.

“We are very excited about the possibilities that our KCET partnership provides, both in terms of visibility for CSUF and learning opportunities for students,” said Cheryl Perreira, director of the KCET partnership.
In preparation for the first day of shooting, Foster, “OC Insight” producer, has been helping to build the set literally driving to a hardware store and loading his truck with doorframes to create a backdrop, working with communications faculty members to coordinate scripts, calling experts in the College of the Arts to see about composing a musical theme song and tending to the hundreds of other details needed to create a television program.

“The partnership and the show provide a tremendous spotlight for the university,” Foster said. “I believe this is the nexus of a flowering relationship.”

For the first shoot, crew members from KCET arrived on campus to work with the broadcast faculty and students, who will, at some point, take over much of the production on subsequent “OC Insight” episodes.

“KCET has very high production standards and they wanted to ensure that our students would be able to produce these types of shows down the road,” Foster said. “It was a great learning experience for the students to shadow the professionals and acquire the hands-on experience that will help prepare them for the future.”

Camera Ready
The first guests arrive and are directed to makeup. They meet with Cooper, who, as on-air host, will ask questions and lead the discussion.
“Let’s have fun,” he tells them. “Just pretend we’re sitting in the living room having a discussion about the issues.”

As they settle into studio seats, the second panel of guests goes to makeup.

Directly outside the Cal State Fullerton studio, students, faculty members and KCET crew view the scene on monitors.

Cooper introduces the guests and the conversation begins.

What’s That Noise?
“Wait a minute. What’s making that noise?” asks a sound technician in the control room.

A vent is blowing directly above the guests and interfering with the sound quality. In short order, a crewmember climbs up a ladder and stuffs a sheet in the vent to muffle the noise. Problem solved.

After the first panel of guests exits the set, the second group enters. Taping the second segment moves faster as technical glitches have been remedied during the first segment.

By 4 p.m., the KCET crew is ready to pack up and head back to Los Angeles. Editing begins and planning commences for the next segment of “OC Insight.”

“The ‘to do’ list is evolving,” Foster said, with a smile. “For every accomplishment, the list continues to grow.”

First 'OC Insight' Episodes Focus On Immigration and Wage Issues »

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