Students learn hands-on broadcasting skills in partnership with Pacifics

Dominican’s broadcasting partnership with the San Rafael Pacifics baseball team has been a big hit for students in the Department of Communications and Media Studies, providing valuable hands-on experiences for students preparing for careers as broadcasters.

Since this unique partnership began in 2012, Dominican students have produced and presented live radio broadcasts and online audio streaming of the team’s home games at Albert Field. This immersion into the world of broadcasting has helped Dominican’s students succeed in careers after – and even before – graduation.

Hunter Horenstein '14 now works as director of Fan Engagement for the Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Pelicans, a Class A minor league affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. After graduation, Alex Swan '15 joined Comcast NBC Bay Area Sports in San Francisco. And, now entering his junior year, Forrest Hunt ’20 already has been hired by the Pacifics to do their radio play-by-play.

The successful outcomes of Dominican’s communications students drew Ethan Estrada ’21 to Department of Communications and Media Studies at Dominican. His goal is to one day become a play-by-play broadcaster.

“I selected Dominican because of all the success stories that have come out of communications department and into the world of sports media,” says Ethan, who graduated from Aspire Benjamin Holt College Preparatory Academy in Stockton.

Ethan jumped into broadcasting his freshman year. With encouragement from assistant professor Stuart Horne, Ethan began presenting a show on Penguin Radio focused on another of his passions – comic books.

“My show was the called the Superpower hour and my DJ name was DJ DRDC,” he recalls. “I enjoyed every week just having an hour to talk about the fictional super powered heroes I love.”

Ethan also started working on the radio broadcasts for Dominican’s NCAA-Division II softball games.

“I would not be at the point I am so early without the guidance of Stuart Horne,” Ethan says. “We have a good master and apprentice dynamic.”

It was Horne who suggested that Ethan enroll in the Pacifics program.

“The course has been great practice for what will hopefully be my future career. Anyone can be comfortable broadcasting on the radio, but TV is different because if you mess up the pitch type, or where it was hit, the audience knows because they are watching the same play unfold,” Ethan says.

Each year the Pacifics program grows, with broadcasting and communication students now also producing a weekly magazine show and working in every facet of the pre- and post-game shows. This year the students started working on instant replays – a complex skill to master.

“Students have to anticipate when an exciting play will happen, and bet on which camera will get the best angle,” explains instructor and broadcaster Scott Calhoun. “If the bet pays off, then we jog that particular footage back to the starting point of the play, cycle it back into the video switcher, and take it live on the screen, which also has to be coordinated with the graphics generator to say ‘instant replay.’”

“There’s a lot of complexity going on, but 100% of it is run by the students, supervised by our instructors,” Calhoun adds. “There are mistakes, but even those are fun to watch -- in their own way.”

You can catch the games live on Comcast channel 30, AT&T channel 99, or online (cmcm.tv/edu) or live stream at cmcm.tv/live. Tune in to Radio Penguin to hear the games.

 

July 30, 2018