Dean hopes to develop sports broadcasting program

After a failed first attempt at launching a sports broadcasting program, officials in the radio-TV-film department are trying again.

David Whillock, dean of the College of Communication, said that he gave a charge to Chuck LaMendola, a radio-TV-film professor currently on sabbatical this semester, to have sports broadcasting on the books as a major by fall 2009. Whillock said most of the classes needed to create a sports broadcasting major are already in the course catalog.

In addition, several other ideas for new classes are being discussed. A proposal that was written this fall includes the creation of classes ranging from history of sports broadcasting to sports documentary production.

However, Richard Allen, chair of the radio-TV-film department, said this proposal is tentative and nothing is set in stone.

The radio-TV-film department originally began its effort to create a sports broadcasting program a few years ago, Allen said, but “we couldn’t get the caliber of people we wanted.”

“They would apply, we would accept them, and then it would be hard for them, for whatever reason, to leave their very lucrative careers,” he said.

Allen said the decision to proceed with the development of a sports broadcasting program was due in part to the hiring of Mike Martin as a professor.

Martin had previously served for 12 years as TCU’s director for athletic video. He now works for both the athletics department and the radio-TV-film department.

Allen and LaMendola said in the ideal situation, the courses needed for a sports broadcasting degree would not be taught solely within the radio-TV-film department.

“I think it would be great if it was a program with courses from all the departments in the College [of Communication],” Allen said.

Whillock agreed. “That’s our hope. In fact, I’d like to start a lot of programs that will do that,” he said. “As we get into the 21st century those kinds of boundaries that we used to have are beginning to really blur.”

Currently, the sports broadcasting program consists of several classes within the radio-TV-film department. Students may take courses in topics ranging from remote sports production to audio for sports television and radio.

Martin said the five students enrolled in the remote sports production course are working with a professional video production crew during TCU home football games to help operate TCU’s video board.

A crew of both professional staff and students operates the video board in Moudy’s Studio B. Students also assist with the production by operating cameras and serving as utility workers, Martin said.

Scott Kull, associate athletics director for external operations, said a well-run sports broadcasting program would benefit both the athletic department and students.

Kull came to TCU from Florida State University, which he said has a well-renowned sports broadcasting and video production program.

“Athletics was a laboratory for the students,” Kull said about Florida State’s program.

LaMendola mentioned Florida State and Oklahoma State University as two programs after which TCU would like to shape its program.

There is no concrete date for the completion of the proposal, or for the actual creation of a sports broadcasting degree. “There’s a big process you have to go through before you create a major like that,” Allen said.

According to Whillock, in order to officially create a major, a proposal must be submitted to and approved by three committees: the departmental curriculum committee, the college curriculum committee and the TCU undergraduate council. However, Whillock said he believes that if the proper due diligence is done, having sports broadcasting on the books as a major or an emphasis by next fall is a possibility.