At the end of this summer, Alabama Public Radio, Crimson Tide Productions and WVUA-TV will move into new production and office space in the basement of Bryant-Denny Stadium.
“Just being inside a stadium will be unique,” Lynn Brooks, news director for WVUA, said. “I believe we’ll be the only commercial broadcasting operation on planet Earth to broadcast from a football stadium.”
The WVUA staff currently share the bottom floor of Reese-Phifer Hall with the Alabama Public Radio staff. She said WVUA broadcasts to about three million homes between Huntsville and Montgomery each night and the staff has naturally outgrown the space.
“We have the largest broadcast news intern program in America,” Brooks said. “If you’re a prospective broadcast student and you visit a university that has an opportunity to work inside such a unique facility it can be a real difference maker in your decision.”
Elizabeth Brock, director of the Center for Public Television and Radio, said approximately 75 full-time employees and 100 students occupy the first floor of Reese Phifer Hall. She said the athletic department offered the space in the stadium.
“My best recollection is that the athletic department made the offer to the dean of the college,” Brock said. “Essentially it was unfinished space, and they offered the space for us to collect.”
Although the athletic department offered the space, the funds for the new space and equipment was provided by the University and private donors.
(See also “WVUA-TV helps put students ahead of game”)
Brock said the new facility will be equipped with more efficient technology including new cables, wires and fiber track passageways that send data more efficiently. Additionally, fiber tracks have been laid around campus allowing high definition cameras to be set up and thereby eliminating necessity for a production truck.
“We’ll be able to do good-looking, high quality coverage from places all over campus,” she said.
Brock said the new facility will allow hands-on learning observation for incoming interns.
“There are very few hard walls,” she said. “A lot of the space is flexible so, as staffing changes, as the needs change we’ll be able to reconfigure ourselves pretty easily.”
Victoria Sheehan, a producer and weekend anchor for WVUA, said she was excited for the move to the stadium.
“I’m excited to have windows,” Sheehan said. “There’s no natural sunlight where we are now, so that’s definitely something to look forward to.”
With the move date approaching, Joseph Phelps, professor and chairman of the department of advertising and public relations, is serving as chair of a space allocation committee to decide a new use for the first floor space in Reese Phifer Hall.
“Each department needs a space for students to be able to work on creative projects. We have faculty with no offices,” Phelps said. “Right now what we have to think about is that space will be made available in Reese Phifer.”
Leading in today’s Crimson White: