Becoming number one in the country doesn’t happen over night. For Cleveland High School, it began six years ago.
Current CHS Broadcasting Instructor, Jon Souders, graduated Lee University with a degree in Telecommunications. He started a small business in 2001 that specialized in television productions. Prior to this company, he traveled around the county producing events from large conventions to small corporate meetings. Live production was his passion and his small business was able to grow quickly over several years. In 2006, Jon was approached by Cleveland High School, his alma mater, about teaching a new broadcasting program. He accepted the position and six years later CHS has been named the “Most Watched High School Online” in the country.
When the program first began, the initial funding was obtained through Federal Perkins Funds and Local Funds. Since all that really existed was a computer lab, a large investment was made to help purchase cameras, switchers, software, and other pieces of equipment to get the program going. Currently the program is still funded by Perkins and Local Funds, however CHSLive, the streaming branch of CHS, has begun to produce DVD’s and sell advertising to help generate funds for the program.
The Cleveland High School Broadcasting Path of Study consists of 4 levels: Broadcasting 1, 2, 3, and 4 with a total of 150 students per year participating in the program. Broadcasting 1 is an introduction to video production. These students learn the basics of editing in Adobe Premiere Pro CS6, basic camera operations, shot framing, storyboarding, script writing, and other entry level broadcasting skills. Projects consist of music videos, PSA’s, silent movies, and small group original films.
Broadcasting 2 introduces students to digital moviemaking. These students learn how to write a short screenplay, storyboard, and work with others to create a digital short. They are also introduced to the professional cameras and Adobe After Effects and Adobe Encore. The semester is finalized with an individual movie project that students must write and produce.
Broadcasting 3 is in charge of CHSLive, the online streaming production of CHS, and Raider Connect. Raider Connect is a live daily news show created entirely by students for students. The show consists of announcements, commercials, interviews with special guests, sports highlights, and more. All students rotate through the crew positions, however there is an audition process for on-air talent. The students maintain the same job for a week before rotating to the next one. Students are expected to be professional regardless of the position they are in for a particular rotation. The anchors write their own scripts using a great cloud based program called “Rundown Creator”. This allows all of the students to work on the script at the same time and a producer to approve each story as it is completed. Then the teleprompter operator is able to take the script and format it for the show. Each daily show is 7-10 minutes long.
Lastly, Broadcasting 4 is an independent study for senior students looking to enter the job market or college to study television /motion pictures. These students work directly in the community on real world projects for clients. They also oversee CHSLive as part of the class requirements. Students are able to take the Broadcasting Courses each year they are in high school if they choose.
There are approximately 15 students in the Broadcasting 3 course, which produces the daily news program, Raider Connect. Starting in Fall 2013, they will also be producing a weekly program that will air on a local television channel. The weekly program will consist of student interviews, sports highlights, and other school related stories.
CHSLive streams many events and performances live on the Internet. Athletic events include football, wrestling, baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball, and soccer. Other events include musicals, band concerts, Veterans’ Assembly, Honors Assembly, and Graduation. They have also streamed pep rallies and other events around the community. In February 2013, CHSLive was named the most watched online high school stream by PlayOn Sports in Atlanta, GA.
The Broadcasting Program, at Cleveland High School in Tennessee, has recently received several accolades for the 2012-2013 school year. In February, broadcasting instructor Jon Souders and Career and Technical Education Director Renny Whittenbarger traveled to Nashville to accept the Outstanding Career and Technical Program Recognition for Broadcast Journalism from the Tennessee Council for Career and Technical Education. In order to receive this award, the Broadcasting Program had to meet many different qualifications relating to industry integration, program curriculum, and relevance. Several programs in the state competed for this award, and a committee chose Cleveland High School as the recipient.
The Cleveland High School Broadcasting Students enter various contests throughout the county. These include a Pepsi Video Contest, Middle Tennessee State University Video Contest, SchoolTube Contests, and other regional events. They also participate in SkillsUSA. Many student projects are posted on SchoolTube and YouTube for community viewing and input. The daily broadcast can be viewed live anywhere in the world at www.raiderconnect.com. All athletic events can be viewed at www.chslive.com.
Cleveland High School is a public school located in Cleveland, Tennessee, with an approximate enrollment of 1,500 students in the ninth through twelfth grades.
Ed Note: You can read more about Cleveland High School and their Broadcasting Program in our forthcoming Special Issue: Sports Broadcasting, this coming August.