Asbury University’s media program

When thinking of the top university-level media communication programs throughout the state, the three schools that may come to mind first are Kentucky, Louisville and Western Kentucky. But it’s actually a much smaller school that not only leads the state but also most of the country, in preparing students for careers in media production. Located in Wilmore, Asbury University is a private Christian university that just so happens to produce some of the most talented folks in the television and film industries, including alumni who’ve worked on the sets of “The Hobbit,” “Forrest Gump,” “Batman,” “Elf,” “Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace,” NASCAR on ESPN, and NFL Films, among others. Among those outstanding alumni is Ty Schadt who, as a senior in 2020, wrote “The Lumberman Quarterback” as an intern for NFL Films. The project won a prestigious sports Emmy.

“Winning this award is an unbelievable honor that wouldn’t have been remotely possible without the help of many talented people working alongside me,” Schadt said during an interview with Asbury in June 2021. “I always thought it to be true, but this recognition only strengthens my belief that I’m in the right spot, I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing, and I’ve done the right things to get to this point.” To commemorate this long list of alumni, Asbury’s Andrew S. Miller Center for Communications Arts features walls filled with display cases containing props from projects that students have gone to work on after graduation. This includes pieces from the aforementioned shows and movies, along with historical items like a Gutenberg-model press used in the 1939 film “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and a piece of the set from iconic film “Gone With The Wind,” which came out the same year. In order to set up their students for success, Asbury makes available the most cutting edge technology for their students to learn on. This consists of everything from studio quality cameras like the ARRI ALEXA LF, to a 24-hour broadcast news station, eSports broadcasting center, and a digital control room that can control up to 200 internet-connected cameras at once in 4K from anywhere in the world.

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According to Jim Owens, dean of Asbury’s School of Communication Arts, technology like their internet-based control room will soon become the norm for broadcasting large events. Owens said that about 12 years ago the college got a trailer of mobile broadcasting equipment that totaled close to $2 million, but the new control room they have (that has even more capabilities) cost 20 times less. In many cases they’re able to acquire this technology from alumni now working in the field for a fraction of the sticker price, bringing even more value to their current students in training. “Our goal is to prepare students to be able to jump straight from the classroom and onto a film, television or other set immediately upon graduation,” Owens said. “We do this by providing the best tools possible for them to learn with while they’re here, so when it’s time to leave they’re already well-versed in the latest technology being used in the field.” One big event the new control room could come in handy for is the Olympics, which Asbury has had students involved with on the production side since 1996.

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