Grace DeSanti | The broadcast studio is actively under construction with plans to open by the end of February.

The Harrington School of Communication and Media is going to launch its state-of-the-art broadcast studio in the Chafee Social Science Center at the end of February.

The studio will have a cutting-edge control room with a four-camera set up including a robotic camera, a TV news set, an interview set up and a studio lighting package equipped for high definition TV production.

“This is going to be an amazing resource,” Adam Roth, director of the Harrington School of Communications and Media, said. “The students are going to, not only have the opportunity to work in content production, they can also be hired in the studio to actually learn how to use the equipment or they can take classes in there, they can act in there, they can learn how to use cutting-edge technology, they can produce reels that they can then use when they are applying for jobs.”

Jeff Fountain, a three-time National Emmy Award winner for technical directing at NBC Sports for live broadcast of the Summer Olympics, is the manager of the broadcast studio. He also teaches introduction to TV studio production, which will be taught inside the studio once it opens.

“My goal for the students when they are finished with the course is that they are not only going to have the skills to hit the ground running at an entry-level job at a TV station, but are also going to have the opportunity to create a portfolio or a demo reel,” Fountain said. “To be able to show actual content that you’ve created demonstrating your skills in lighting, directing, technical directing and audio, is very important when you’re trying to get hired.”

The studio can be accessed by all students, student clubs and organizations. Students and faculty can also use the space to express their creative ideas and use the functionality of the studio to communicate their thoughts on a video platform.

“We are talking about producing content for a variety of media,” Roth said. “I think there are a lot of opportunities for us to collaborate across the University, with URI athletics and with other units as well.”

The broadcast center used to be a TV studio that was run by Information Technology Services (ITS) before it was acquired by The Harrington School of Communication and Media.

“On the whole it was about a $1.25 million project,” Roth said. “With a grant for $150,000 from the Champlin Foundation, institutional investments, and additional funding from Richard Harrington and other donors we were able to acquire the necessary funding for this amazing resource for the campus community.”  

Those who wish to use the studio can contact Fountain directly for availability of studio time. A certain amount of time will be reserved for people who are not Harrington school members and that will be a first-come-first-serve basis. The studio will also be staffed by trained students.

“One of the ideas I have is to have regularly scheduled hours called the ‘Walk-in Workshop’ and this is going to be open to anybody,” Fountain said. “They just have to sign up first. This will be an ongoing studio time to come in and hack on the equipment and try out some ideas, kind of like a video jam session.”