SBA Students Enter OBEA Student Competition

Five Rogers State University communications students have submitted original projects to the 2012 Oklahoma Broadcast Education Association Student Competition, which will be held on Feb. 4 at the University of Central Oklahoma. Gary Webb, Garrett Powders, Emily Mahan, Cody Nix and Andrew Nichols will be representing RSU in the statewide competition.

Those competing from RSU entered projects into six different categories including documentary/series, public service announcement, entertainment-short, magazine/talk, personality air-check and promotional spot. Students could submit one piece per category.

Cathy Coomer, assistant communications professor and SBA advisor, said she was pleased with the choices the students made for their entries.

“Students are watching and preparing with a much more critical eye than in the past and that is because many of them have attended the awards ceremony and have seen a number of the winning entries” she said. “It’s not always about including all the bells and whistles to a piece. It’s about being creative, making a statement and being able to tell a story in a way that it draws interest.”

Webb, a senior from Honolulu, Hawaii, and Mahan, a senior from Schulter, Okla., return to the competition with experience from previous years. This is Webb’s fourth year to submit a piece to the OBEA student awards. He previously earned second place for an air-check and first place for his interview with Rob Zombie. However, his entries in last year’s competition were not winners.

“After coming up dry last year, I’m hoping this year’s awards will come raining down upon me,” he said.

Reflecting upon the critiques and suggestions of former judges, Webb has created two submissions for the event. The first is an air-check of his announcing for college/indie rock music. The second is a video entertainment short called “91.3 FM: Off the Air” that he starred in, edited and produced with Nix. The five-minute video is comprised of three sketches and focuses on the good-natured competition between on air personalities.

“Our inspiration for this came from reality television shows and stemmed from a desire to show people what goes on at the station,” Webb explained.

Mahan enters the competition for a second time. Last year, she submitted a feature story. Although it did not win any awards, Mahan was grateful to learn the process. She hopes to go further this year with her entertainment calendar submission.

Each week, Mahan puts together an entertainment calendar consisting of three events happening in the greater Tulsa area. They all consist of the event title, a brief description and where to go to find more information.

“I chose this particular event calendar to submit because the voice inflections and pitches were better,” Mahan said. “It was back in September and I tried to make it frightful because one of the stories was about a Halloween event.”

Powders, Nix and Nichols are all submitting projects to the OBEA Student Competition for the first time.

Powders, a senior who graduated from Union High School in Tulsa, submitted a promo spot highlighting the real-time playlist feature of the then-new RSU Radio website.

During the process of making the promotion, he wrote a script, recorded his voice and added sound effects and a song that was popular at the time. He then used Adobe Audition to put it all together for the final product.

“I thought it was pretty creative,” he explained. “It was simple, but it got the point across. I used outside elements to edit things such as sound effects, so it was unique but not over the top.”

Nix, radio/television senior, submitted two pieces including the entertainment video with Webb and an interview with Barry Manilow about his new album.

The Fort Worth, Texas native said he felt like the interview came together very fluidly. He contacted the company promoting Manilow’s new album and within a week recorded the interview with Manilow.

“I wanted to showcase both my video editing skills as well as audio. So I felt that submitting a video show and an audio interview would be able to cover all spectra of what I do,” he said.

Carrying on the film focus, Nichols, a senior from Bartlesville, submitted two pieces to the competition. His first piece, a documentary/series category entry, was a four minute video about “Equivocation,” a play that was put on by the RSU Theatre program. The second was a public service announcement about grassfires.

“The grassfire video took about two days to make. Shooting on location is difficult and finding a good time also is challenging,” Nichols said. “It’s very time consuming and sometimes it can be frustrating, but the result is well worth it.”

All five students are excited about the opportunity to improve their skills and hope to gain a better understanding of what it takes to succeed in their prospective career fields.

“Submitting something to OBEA is a great opportunity to learn a little bit more about what you can improve on,” Mahan said. “It also gives you the chance to network and get a little experience with what you could possibly be doing after college. I think everyone in this field of study should go to the student competition at least once.”

– By Monique Demarais, RSU PR Intern