CULLOWHEE – The national Society of Broadcast Engineers recently certified Western Carolina University senior Christopher Edmonds of Winston Salem, NC, as a television operator, which his professor calls a rare achievement for a university student.
“To my knowledge, Chris is the first student at Western to receive certification from a national organization for television broadcast operations,” said Padraig Acheson, director of studio operations and assistant professor in the department of communication, theatre and dance at Western.
“While I know some universities use the SBE Television Operator’s Certification Handbook as a textbook like I do in my class at Western, it is not widely done,” said Acheson, whose background includes 28 years of network television operations experience at ABC, CBS and NBC in New York. Students who buy the handbook earn the right to sit for the national exam, Acheson explained, and Edmonds had to score more than 90 percent in order to be certified.
In a message to Acheson, Linda Baun, SBE fellow and certification director, said the SBE has issued only 108 television operator certifications this year. “We congratulate you and Chris on your accomplishments,” she said.
A 2002 graduate of North Forsyth High School, Edmonds is majoring in communication with a concentration in electronic media. He first became interested in television broadcasting in high school, and at Western he has served as a writer, producer, director and performer for the university’s student-run cable television station. “With SBE certification, I would be comfortable at any television station, working in master control or videography,” he said. At the same time, he is keeping open the option of working in radio, and plans to earn his radio sales certification before he graduates.
Edmonds was among the first students to work and study in Western’s new state-of-the-art audio and video production facility in the university’s Center for Applied Technology. In the CAT studios, students receive instruction and hands-on experience with some of the most advanced broadcast equipment available, including a Solid State Logic C200 recording console, the first in the United States; signal switching equipment like that used by NBC at the Olympics and on national sports broadcasts; and three sets of cameras, lights and sound recording gear for use in the field. The facility is designed to attract audio and video production projects to the western region of the state, to support the university’s mission to boost the region’s economy and to ensure that students become involved in professional projects. For more information, call (828) 227-7491, or visit www.wcu.edu/as/ctd (link no longer active).
Western Carolina University is one of the 16 senior institutions of the University of North Carolina system. Western enrolls more than 8,660 students in undergraduate and graduate programs of study, and is located about 50 miles west of Asheville, N.C., near Great Smoky Mountains National Park.