The Department of Communication will unveil the Amy and Scott Sewell Digital Production Studio today at 4 p.m. The TV studio, which is home to HU16 news, recently received a high definition upgrade funded by donations from parents, faculty and alumni.
Harding’s television station launched their first broadcast on Sept. 26, 1983. At the time, the studio was located in the College of Bible and Ministry which could be found in the Ezell building.
The Reynolds Center for Music and Communications and the current studio space were built in 1998. The studio was designed as a learning lab for students to practice live production skills and help them obtain jobs in the industry.
The upgraded studio was named in honor of two longtime supporters, Scott and Amy Sewell. Scott Sewell is an information technology professional for Microsoft. Amy Sewell, a Harding alumna, was involved in student media during her time at Harding and now works as a lifestyle consultant and TV spokesperson. The Sewells currently reside in New York City and actively coordinate events with and for Harding students. Amy Sewell said that she and her husband chose to participate in the studio upgrade because of the success they have witnessed through the program so far.
“In recent years, the communication program has grown, and they’ve seen amazing success … (not only) in the number of students that are coming through the department … but also the success that graduates are having when they come out of school,” Amy Sewell said. “Every morning, I look at my phone … and there’s always constant job updates from graduates, people getting jobs at newspapers, magazines or TV stations.”
The total renovation cost about $160,000 — the Sewells were the largest donors to the upgrade. Their donation was contingent on matching funds to encourage other donors to contribute as well. Amy Sewell said she was glad to see so many people rally around the upgrade, from current faculty members to alumni that were formerly her classmates.
“It’s exciting to see that the whole Harding community is on board,” Amy Sewell said. “(The TV station) really connects the Harding community throughout the world.”
The studio dedication will feature Dr. Jim Miller, chair of the Department of Communication, Dr. Warren Casey, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities and Hunter Hoagland, a junior broadcast journalism major involved in HU16. Dr. Ginger Blackstone, assistant professor of broadcast journalism, will dedicate the new studio, and the Sewells will complete the lineup of guest speakers.
“It will be great to thank donors personally for contributing to the excitement and growth of our operation,” Blackstone said. “This was a much-needed upgrade, and I’m thankful we received the resources to make it happen.”
After the ceremony, there will be a reception in the lobby of the Reynolds while the HU16 team prepares for their daily newscast. Attendees will be invited back to the studio to watch the production of “Live at 5” as it airs.
Junior broadcast journalism major Grace Nickols will be one of several student anchors during the broadcast. Nickols has been involved with HU16 since her freshman year and said the studio update allows her to prepare for her future career with the best possible technology.
“I think it’s amazing that people that didn’t have anything to do with the TV studio in their time at college would invest in students and would see the work that we are doing as important,” Nickols said.
Nickols said she and the “Live at 5” team are excited to show alumni and donors the improvements they have been able to make thanks to the update. To see the new studio in action, visit thelink.harding.edu.
Written by staff reporter Nora Johnson and class writer Haley Hood