Poughkeepsie, New York- Many schools have radio stations on their campus, some have an affiliation with major networks like ESPN, and even fewer than that have mainly student run programs. Thinking about all the great Communication schools around the country, only one school has all three of these criteria on their campus, little Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. In the form of the radio program The Classroom, the students of Marist College get to feature their abilities in preproduction, post production and on air talent for the a radio show on Worldwide Leader in Sports ESPN, an opportunity that only few students have ever had.
This amazing opportunity for Marist students can be traced back to a single conversation, “Geoff Brault (Co-host of The Classroom) met with Bob DeFelice (Market Manager for Sunrise Broadcasting), and he told Geoff that ESPN was coming back to the Hudson Valley and he wanted to get involved with Marist and especially with the students,” said Director of the Marist College Center for Sports Communication and Co-host of The Classroom Dr. Keith Strudler, “We always wanted to get into the media world and this was our chance, and from that meeting we got two things the show The Classroom and the Marist 180.”
The show launched a year ago, and was intended not just to inform but also to entertain. Even though Dr. Strudler and Geoff Brault are the hosts of the show, all the work is done by students and has been since the first show. “It gives them something to put on their resume and the experience that they would not get anywhere else. Students get to perform tasks and jobs that they would not get anywhere, like board operator, producer, researcher,” said Dr. Strudler.
This is a one of a kind opportunity, and students have been taken full advantage of it, “The Classroom was both an entertaining and educational experience for me,” said former intern Tommy Beal, “it was my first real experience with a live radio show, and it helped prepare me for my internship at SiriusXM.” Experience is something that all employers look for in a potential applicant, something that Dr. Strudler stresses to his students all the time. “I’ve been interning for The Classroom since it first aired last year and it has probably been the best experience of my college career,” said returning intern Rob Duffy, “getting experience in audio preparation for a live radio show, is great experience for me.” As students continue to impress Dr. Strudler and continuously put out a good product on the air, students have been given more responsibilities on the show.
Now, The Classroom has a new wrinkle to the show, by adding a visual element to the show. “Adding the video component to the show is so exciting for me,” said Rob Duffy, who is now head producer of the visual side of The Classroom, “because there is so much potential and it can really transform the show into something that not only the Communications department can be proud of, but something the whole school can pride itself on.” The Center for Sports Communication partnered with American Ed TV to give Marist College students and The Classroom another way to feature their talents.
Students are encouraged to take chances and make a name for themselves with the help of The Classroom, “I was working with students and faculty I was familiar with, so it was a very comfortable working environment,” said former intern Tommy Beal. These students are given the chance to work in a professional environment and though the it is more comfortable it is still ESPN and these students also learn how to be professional which is something that students do not learn until after graduation.
Students now have the opportunity to work in both medias and have the chance working on projects that they would not normally have a chance to do at a different company, “This internship was unique in that it allowed me to gain real world experience without having to leave campus,” noted Tommy Beal. Marist College and the Center for Sports Communication have given their students a chance to learn and thrive in the field of Radio and now Visual production. “Time will tell if our interns experience on this show will turn into jobs,” said Dr. Strudler, “but this gives students experience that they would not get anywhere else.” The show is on every Saturday from 10 AM-12 PM live on ESPN radio channel 1220 AM and 97.3 FM and online at Foxradio.net. It will also be available on American Ed TV shortly after that and can be streamed from their website Americanedtv.edu, all produced and run by the students of Marist College.