State-of-the-art broadcast center at QU draws raves

Mary Pat Vahlkamp, left front, Sarah Vahlkamp, communications graduate assistant and Associate Professor of Communications Barb Schleppenbach chat in the control room Monday during the open house of the new Quincy University broadcast studio in the Connie Niemann Center for Music at the QU North Campus. | H-W Photo/Michael Kipley
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Dec. 5, 2017 8:15 am

QUINCY -- Quincy University unveiled its new broadcast center to the general public Monday afternoon.

Without question, it was an impressive sight for everyone on hand.

"This is a game changer," said Nora Baldner, a QU assistant professor of communication.

The communication department on the university's North Campus has undergone a major renovation in the past year, made possible through a $450,000 gift in February from Quincy Media Inc., designed to enhance the university's communication degree program.

Among the new features is a state-of-the-art digital television studio. New production control room equipment and news integration software have also been installed.

The new equipment mirrors the technology being used by digital, interactive and marketing professionals on a variety of network media platforms and multiple QMI properties.

"This is light years ahead of what we had," said senior Laura Beeman, a communication major from St. Louis. "We'll have a leg up on the competition after we graduate."

Ralph Oakley, president and CEO of Quincy Media, the parent company of The Herald-Whig and WGEM Radio and TV, praised what has been a long fruitful relationship between his company and the university.

"We have a great partnership with QU," he said. "What this will help do is provide an opportunity for (communication ?students) to learn in a real-world setting. It's so exciting to see the looks on the students' faces."

Oakley emphasized the importance of QU as an integral part of the community.

"QU plays an important role in the quality of life and infrastructure of Quincy and the entire region," he said. "We have supported the university for many years and are connected to them in a variety of ways, including a lot of our (QMI employees) having attended or graduated from QU."

Oakley is a 1980 QU graduate and served on the Quincy University Board for 10 years, including two terms as chairman. His father, Herald-Whig Publisher Thomas A. Oakley, also served on the QU Board and as its vice chairman.

Quincy Media, formerly known as Quincy Newspapers, is a family-owned media company that owns and operates television stations in 14 markets, newspapers in two markets, radio in one market and digital platforms in all its media locations.

WGEM Vice President and General Manager Carlos Fernandez was impressed with the new broadcast center.

"I remember when these kind of classes were very basic," Fernandez said. "This is amazing."

QMI helped the university establish the broadcast center in 2012 with a donation of digital equipment, including HD cameras, a television control room switcher and editing stations.

The QU communication department works with students preparing for careers in print, online, TV and other media platforms with its studies in multimedia journalism and strategic communication.

"This will definitely help with the path we are on," said Taylor King, a sophomore from Ann Arbor, Mich.

Anna Konczak of Peru, Ill., a junior, said the new facilities will be extremely beneficial.

"We'll have hands-on opportunities that will allow us to get the kinks out before (entering the job market)," she said.

Senior Bailey Greubel of St. Louis, who is eyeing a career in sports media and has already done summer internships, said the new QU facilities are more than comparable to what she has seen in professional settings.

Adam Meyer of Laguna Niguel, Calif., came to QU as a volleyball recruit and has discovered what the broadcast center offers.

"I always kind of wanted to be an entertainer," Meyer said. "I'm learning the basics (of multimedia journalism) here and am hoping to be a weatherman. I've always been interested in that.

"These facilities are insanely nice."

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