The Northeast Broadcasting Program was started in 1980 by Denny Reeves, the same year that cable TV came to Norfolk. During the 1970’s, only a few broadcasting classes were offered with little opportunity for hands-on experience. All classes were held in one room of what is now the Echtencamp building.
Reeves doubled the space from one classroom to two. In those two regular classrooms, he packed a TV studio, a TV control room, set and equipment storage, 2 radio studios, a classroom, a student work area and his office. When he left in 1983, Ann Harrison took over the classes until the end of the year.
The cable TV company partnered with Northeast to provide initial video production equipment in exchange for sharing the TV studio. This partnership continued until the cable company built their new building on Victory Road.
In August, 1983, John Skogstoe took over the program. Reeves had built a strong radio program and established KAYR – that station that cares about you – on the cable channel. The program enjoyed strong support from the college with state-of-the-art equipment and many opportunities for student experience. In 1995, the college station officially changed its call letters from KAYR to KHWK/Hawk TV to further support the Northeast Hawks brand.
In 2005, the broadcasting program moved into new quarters in the Cox Activities Center, adjacent to the Audio and Recording Technology program and across the hall from the gymnasium. The programs became Broadcasting, Audio and Video Production with two options.
The new facility took the broadcasting program from two radio studios to three, included a separate faculty office, post-production room and classroom and more than tripled the size of the TV studio. It also attracted talented students who were committed to learning multiple aspects of broadcasting. The college continued to support the program with state-of-the-art equipment. Broadcasting students had many opportunities to gain experience in all aspects of radio and television in front of the cable channel’s audience. Students created radio music programs, a weekly radio talk show, a weekly sports summary and commentary show, a weekly television news show, live play by play radio and television sports coverage, the live graduation ceremony and many special shows and projects. These established programs and projects continue today.
In 2013, Brian Anderson, who is a 1993 graduate of the Northeast broadcasting program, took over as instructor and adviser. With more than 25 years of Radio and TV industry experience and multiple Emmy Awards, Anderson brought his field knowledge and skills to Northeast to further help and guide students to learn and demonstrate the industry standard. Anderson also led the charge to enroll KHWK/Hawk TV as a member of the Nebraska Broadcasters Association, which provides Northeast students with scholarships and industry connections.
In 2014, Northeast launched the “Media Arts” program of study. Media Arts includes three concentrations; Audio and Recording Technology, Broadcasting and the new Digital Cinema and Media concentration. These three programs work closely together as media industries continue to converge. Students majoring in any of the three concentrations will take core classes from each area to help them become more well-rounded and ready for the versatility of the industry.
Also in 2014, Hawk TV took a big step forward with the addition of a high-definition production switcher called “TriCaster”. The equipment allows the use of green screen technology and high definition cameras to create virtual sets and stunning video. Media entities such as ESPN and Nebraska Public Television also use TriCaster.
As we look into the near future, aspirations include broadcasting to the cable system in high definition, on-line radio streaming, creation of a mobile app and adding drone technology to our curriculum.
The Northeast broadcasting program is very proud of the partnerships that have been created over the years, which include working relationships with KCAU-TV in Sioux City, IA, the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Association, The Douglas County Fair, and with other local civic organizations such as the Norfolk Area Homebuilders.
We are also very proud of our hard-working students who continue to win multiple awards each year through the Nebraska Collegiate Media Association. For example, in 2017 two teams from Northeast won the collegiate Skills USA contest for Broadcast News Production and qualified for national competition. In 2016, Northeast won a total of 32 radio and television awards from the Nebraska Collegiate Media Association (including top TV newscast) and was awarded the runner-up for radio station of the year and TV station of the year. Northeast is the only two-year college in the organization. The organization also includes other four-year institutions in Nebraska.