Communication Studies majors have three places on campus to learn the skills they need to engage the culture: the Arnold Media Production Suite, which includes the Audio and Video Production Labs; the Dorothy Newman Wilson ’43 Memorial Radio Studio; and the Hall of Arts and Letters (HAL). The labs provide students with state-of-the-art, professional-grade tools for aural and visual creation. As students respond to the challenges of their classes to confront mass media, the production suites and radio station offer them a chance to participate in that dialogue. In classes in HAL and in the studios, Grove City College’s Communication Studies majors seek their calling in using numerous forms and technologies to connect with other people. Navigating the complexities of contemporary life can prove daunting, but our majors can get real-world experience on campus and become better prepared to find answers for the questions surrounding communication in the modern world.
The Arnold Media Production Suite is available to students in Video Production, Audio Production, and Documentary Film classes by campus ID card and houses the Audio Production Lab and the Video Production Lab. Independent study students doing audio and video work are also permitted to use the equipment, and members of the GCC TV News team produce their broadcasts in the Video Production Suite. The suite is located in the basement of the Weir C. Ketler Technological Learning Center (TLC) and keeps the same hours as the TLC. The suite is supported by Media Services and is staffed by a student media lab assistant.
The Audio Production Lab allows students to develop their recording and editing skills with professional-grade tools. The lab houses computers equipped with industry-standard Adobe Audition editing software and top-of-the-line headphones. Students use these computers to experiment with qualities of sound, create cell phone ringtones, conduct interviews, document narratives, and record public service announcements and commercials. The lab has a CD library for background music and a sound effect library which students may use in their projects. Students use the professional-quality microphone to document interviews and narration in the lab and headphone-equipped Edirol digital recorders to record audio clips outside. Whether in the lab or in the field, Grove City communication studies students learn to cultivate their recording skills and respond critically to their environment using the tools the Audio Production Lab provides.
The Video Production Suite offers many opportunities for students to develop their filming and editing techniques while responding to the complexities of the broader culture. Students work with high-definition Canon XH A1 video cameras which record to a hard drive that can store 368 minutes of footage and use professional-grade Lavalier lapel and Sennheiser handheld microphones. Two omni light kits, each complete with three 750 W bulbs with scrims, barn doors, diffusion gels, and umbrellas, are stored in the suite. Tripods, baffles, dollies, microphone booms, and wind screens—all the tools used in professional filmmaking—are available for students use as well. All of the equipment can be signed out for four hours at a time on the honor system.
Students can edit their work using Adobe CS4 Premiere on the three computers in the Video Production Suite. The suite also has two green screens: a permanent one that wraps to the floor, used for student projects and as a virtual set for GCC TV News, and a portable one that can be used outdoors. Students have used the equipment provided in the suite to create a film for Apple’s 2007 Insomnia Film Festival and a 2009 film about the Groundhog’s Day festivities in nearby Punxsutawney. Documentary Film students connect with the community by producing segments about stories of local interest, such as the Old Towne redevelopment project in downtown Grove City. For students interested in engaging the culture through film, Grove City’s Video Production Suite provides all of the equipment.
The Dorothy Newman Wilson ’43 Memorial Radio Studio houses the College’s radio station, WSAJ 91.1 The One. The radio station moved to its present location in the TLC in 2008 after many years of broadcasting from the basement of Ketler Hall. The radio station is managed by the faculty Radio Director and seven to eight student executives. Any student can sign up for a one-hour radio show, in which he or she has considerable control over the programming. Each program must include five songs from the College’s newly acquired 1700-volume CD library, but the other songs can come from the library or the student’s personal collection. All content is prescreened. Students also broadcast College football and basketball games on location. WSAJ plays mostly classical, jazz, and folk music when students are not on air.
State-of-the-art broadcasting equipment gives students the opportunity to experience radio communication. The station owns a mixer, solid state storage device to log student broadcasts, three CD players, and one CD recorder. The studio has three microphones and the next-door news room, where students develop nightly news segments, houses another microphone. WSAJ is a unique opportunity for students to join the cultural conversation at 1.6 kilowatts.
Hall of Arts and Letters (HAL)
Opened in 2003, the Hall of Arts and Letters (HAL) houses the Department of Communication Studies and all of the college’s liberal arts departments. The Department shares Suite 200 with the English Department. Each classroom is equipped with a projector and screen, and with the exception of video and audio classes, communication majors take all of their major courses in the buildings. HAL’s inviting atmosphere provides a setting for communication studies majors’ inquiry into and engagement with the questions of language, faith, medium, message, and art and fosters community between liberal arts majors from all disciplines.