Neighbors tune in to high school channels
North Summit High School senior Jason Marsh broadcasts a weekly television show, "Roughin’ It" reviving the spirit of the televised outdoors that late Channel 2 personality Doug Miller pioneered.
Though he has yet to attempt a New Year’s Eve on snowcapped Mount Timpanogos or travel the depths of the Grand Canyon, Marsh has followed the sled tracks at this year’s version of the Iditarod in Park City and has ventured to the Cisco Disco at Bear Lake, interviewing wildlife officers.
He studies high-tech programs under the tutelage of the North Summit broadcast studio teacher, Julie Marsh, who also happens to be his mother.
Julie Marsh reports that All West Communications, the Kamas-based digital cable network and telephone company, has requested six of her son’s episodes to deliver to KSL.
"We get phone calls of people asking to find out what the upcoming story is going to be," Marsh says. "We’ve had quite a few stories like that people telling us how appreciative they are."
All West runs cable fibers throughout Kamas, Coalville and in Park City areas such as Empire Pass, Deer Mountain, Tuhaye, Aspens and Promontory. Nearly two years ago, the company gave North Summit and South Summit high schools their own channels — as part of the "Local Choice" channel package they offer.
Programs at North and South Summit within the past year appear to have blossomed. South Summit reports its Wild Cat TV broadcast class is on a field trip to a film competition with SkillsUSA, a nonprofit organization that helps teachers and students prepare for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations.
Marsh says Channel 38 has become a community hub. As her students have begun to reach out into their neighborhoods to create programming to fill in the hours between live and recorded game coverage, the community, has likewise tuned in. Marsh rebroadcasts football, volleyball and basketball games on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, then runs student programs on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The channel is on 24 hours a day.
"Kids are interacting with the community and the community is able to keep in touch with what the schools are doing — we’ve had elderly call in and one couple in particular told me that it was her husband’s only source of entertainment," Marsh says. "She would make sure he was in his chair with his drink, ready to watch."
Marsh is an adjunct faculty member for Weber State University, teaching classes such as medical terminology. She also teaches three sections of biology in addition to her section of television broadcasting at North Summit.
Marsh has learned by doing. Technology has been a passion, she says, and before taking on the station, she had been integrating the latest software Dreamweaver, a Web site program, and FinalCut Pro, a film program — into her classrooms. She also taught herself how to run a television station, she says.
"We are living in a technological age," she affirms. "Our students, whether they go into a broadcasting career or not, the exposure to higher and new technology prepares students for the job force when I teach a class, I always ask myself, ‘What can I do? How can I teach this software as part of a class?’"
Supplying schools with current technology, however, also comes with something of a price tag.
Menita Wilde writes grants to help get funding for the equipment needed to produce North Summit’s television programming such as Teleprompters, computers and software.
Much of the funding comes from federal or state sources through theUtah State Office of Education’s Career and Technical Education, she says.
"It’s expensive," Wilde admits. "That’s one of the things we’re struggling with. We’re always running on a barebones kind of situation and technology changes and it’s tough to keep up with the cost of that."
According to All West, since the company began offering its local package, demand for the channels has increased.
Wanship resident Chad Toole who works at All West as a graphic designer, says that many of his neighbors enjoy watching high school channels for games and theatrical productions.
"I watch the channel and a lot of people do especially for football," he says. "We actually get a lot of customers switch to our cable because they want the local channels."
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