Huntington, Ind.— The biggest names in the Christian music industry converged on Nashville, Tenn., in mid-April for the Gospel Music Association Week and the much-anticipated annual Dove Awards ceremony. Amidst the throngs of people, three Huntington College broadcast majors had the opportunity to experience the media blitz of that week.
Senior Nathan Doolittle from Jerry City, Ohio, junior Chris Metcalf from Mansfield, Ohio, and junior Ashley Schermerhorn from Lebanon, Tenn., assisted Radio U and TVU with media coverage during the students' trip, which lasted from April 9-13, 2005.
Though the students spent long days performing ordinary tasks such as holding microphones for interviews, the trip put them in touch with the music industry and offered them chances to rub shoulders with media members and popular musicians.
Metcalf, who listens to Radio U, enjoyed working with the on-air personalities. "It was really cool hanging out and forming relationships with the deejays because I've been listening to them for five years," he said. "It was just as good as hanging out with any rock star."
Working as media instead of fans gave the students a different perspective on the musicians. "We know the artists are people just like us," Doolittle said. "Instead of saying 'Oooh,' it's 'Hey, there's Michael W. Smith.'"
In addition, musicians didn't overlook the students in the background. "Even though we were peons, the artists made it a point to introduce themselves to us," Schermerhorn said.
She said the students had time to converse with members of the bands Casting Crowns and Third Day during a lengthy interview when equipment malfunctioned. In addition to those bands, the students also helped in interviews with Bebo Norman, Superchick, Kutless, Peter Furler of the Newsboys, and others.
When interviews were completed, Doolittle, Metcalf and Schermerhorn attended concerts for free, thanks to media passes. They arrived four hours early to a concert at Michael W. Smith's Rocketown and were able to mingle with singers at a reception there, said Schermerhorn.
Doolittle and Schermerhorn made key connections to the industry during the venture. Doolittle connected with recording companies, in hopes to establish relations with Huntington College’s radio station, Fuse FM.
Schermerhorn said the trip opened her eyes to jobs within the broadcasting major. "I hadn't heard of TVU until the trip," she said. "I'm interested in working with the Christian music industry."
She also interviewed for an internship with Rocketown Records and talked with people from EMI Music Group.
TVU and Radio U, with whom the Huntington students worked, are based in Columbus, Ohio. Radio U broadcasts can be heard through stations in Marion, Ind. (94.3 FM), Lompoc, Calif., and Columbus. TVU is a Christian counterpart to MTV and VH1. Both can be found on Sky Angel satellite television as well as on the Internet at www.tvulive.com and www.radiou.com.
Huntington College is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. Following a decade of growth and development, Huntington College will become Huntington University in mid-2005. U.S.News & World Report ranks Huntington among the top comprehensive colleges in the Midwest. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington College is located on a contemporary, lakeside campus in northeast Indiana. Huntington is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) and was named one of the 50 best Christian places to work by Christianity Today magazine.