We Interrupt This Broadcast

Brandi Blanchard

Forsyth Technical Community College’s Broadcasting and Production Technology (BPT) program was born out of a need by a community partner. IMG College, a sports marketing and broadcast services company headquartered in Winston-Salem, came to Forsyth Tech in 2010 with a necessity for developing trained workers in this specialized area. The program began with only a Radio Diploma. It has since added an Associate of Applied Science degree. The program is home to a LPFM radio station, a television station, multimedia production suites, and a full lab of video editing suites. There have been many accomplishments during the past seven years, but faculty and staff say the most gratifying and validating facets of the program have come through their graduates and those that have gone through it.

A mind-blowing experience

Bob Gassett’s story is one that spans full circle at the college. It all began when IMG College accepted him into its internship program while completing his degree. Bob says hands-on instruction from industry professionals through Forsyth Tech’s partnership with IMG was key.

“I was able to learn more of the business side of things, how to handle and thrive in a professional environment, and was allowed to actually begin shadowing and running the board during baseball broadcasts for the University of Southern Mississippi,” Bob says.

After being one of the program’s first graduates in 2013, Bob was the first full-time employee IMG College hired right out of the program. He started in engineering, and worked his way up to Lead Technical Producer. Bob is now responsible for audio streaming on apps, websites, and digital mediums for the company’s more than 50 school broadcast networks.

“It was fantastic to be able to work in the environment in which I learned everything,” Bob says. “The whole thing was mind blowing, and it’s a great honor to be offered a full-time job to work alongside the people that had helped me with my education. I feel fortunate to have been educated, interned, and employed all in the same place.”

The will to never give up

Brandi Blanchard not only wanted to make a better life for her and her daughter, but also show her daughter that it’s never too late to go back to school. In 2012, the single mom—who says she always had an interest in television production—enrolled in the BPT program.

“I knew nothing about the field but immediately found my niche,” Brandi says. “By the end of the year, I was in the top of my class. I fell in love, and knew I was in the right place.”

Brandi completed the program in two years, graduating with an A.A.S. degree – all while working three part-time jobs! However, in order to pursue the career she really wanted, she knew a four-year degree was required. She was accepted into and started the Journalism/Mass Communication program at North Carolina A&T State University in the fall of 2014.

“The hands-on training I received at Forsyth Tech laid the groundwork for my courses at A&T,” Brandi says. “I graduated, with honors, in the spring of 2017.”

Brandi returned to her roots at Forsyth Tech, and is now a New Media and Production Specialist for the college’s Center for Transformative Learning. She’s using her degrees to produce and edit instructional videos for the college. She says pure determination, faith, and the support of family and her instructors at Forsyth Tech are what got her to where she is today.

“There were times I wanted to give up,” Brandi admits. “But the encouragement from BPT Program Coordinator Amy Davis-Moore and instructor Tom Logan helped me succeed.”

Dreams coming true

Fred McKoy’s dream of working in the nation’s #1 radio market is now a reality – thanks to the education he received at Forsyth Tech.

“It all started with Amy Davis-Moore and seeing her commitment to students’ success,” Fred says. “Once she recognizes your strengths, she’s great at nurturing that and advising you on the best path to align your talent with your goals.”

McKoy is now an associate producer in the on-air promotion and music departments at Sirius XM radio in New York City. He says the courses he took in the BPT program gave him the foundation he needed to succeed.

“It gave me access to resources that I would have otherwise not had,” Fred says. “I also received an education about industry history, fundamentals, guidelines and regulations. They’re factors that I feel are continuing to pay dividends for me now as I move further along in my career. Enrolling in this program is one of the best steps I’ve ever taken.”