The Niagara Falls Santa Claus Parade is an annual holiday tradition, and for about a decade, students in NC’s Broadcasting: Radio, Television and Film program have played a key role in its broadcast on TV Cogeco.
This year, a group of more than 25 third-year Television Production students accompanied by about 10 second-year volunteers, were involved in broadcasting the parade, which took place on Nov. 16. The students prepared for the event for months to ensure a seamless broadcast for the viewers – involving behind the scenes work of getting contra deals and supplies, and becoming familiar with the parade lineup.
“My goal was to have each student take complete ownership of his or her work. I was really in the background as a resource,” said BRTF professor Bill Boehlen. “I was blown away by their work. What I saw was dedication, preparation and the students taking the job seriously. When the day came, absolutely everyone was ready.”
Parade co-hosts Shelby Knox and Blake Lough had the challenge of getting familiar with the lineup and everything they could about the parade, and to deliver the information on air in a way that wasn’t too scripted. In addition to gaining the experience of participating in the broadcast, they had the opportunity to work with CTV’s Ashley Rowe during the event. Working with a professional encouraged the students to bring their best game to the table.
“Working with a professional was really good experience for us, as well as having a real-world professional, strangers we never met, listening to us,” said Lough. “There was a lot of adrenaline, a lot of pressure leading up to it. During the actual event we realized it was fun.”
“In class, it’s safe, controlled environment, Out in the streets of Niagara Falls anything could happen,” said Knox. It teaches us to be more adaptable and think on our feet.”
Student Ryan Owen who directed the broadcast was thankful for the experience.
“When you get opportunities like this you want to make the most of it,” said Owen. “Broadcasting is such a wild industry with so many jobs, so for right now in my young naïve age I just want to do as much as I can.”
Student co-producers Ali Turton, Rob Pomposo were responsible for setting up contra deals, gathering supplies, cast auditions, finding volunteers and other details such as organizing breakfast for the entire crew.
Pomposo found the experience rewarding.
“After months of preparation for something this big, it’s really rewarding to be able to watch something you and your fellow classmates put together,” he said. “Most important, it was a learning experience to do this by ourselves.”
Above: left to right, third-year BRTF student Shelby Knox; CTV News reporter Ashley Rowe and third-year BRTF student Blake Lough broadcast the Niagara Falls Santa Claus parade.