Behind the Scenes of WPLD

Every Monday, students watch WPLD in their third block classes. What does it take to make this show every week? Check it out.

PLD Lamplighter’s weekly broadcast, WPLD, displays the professional side of student news that Dunbar sees on a weekly basis. However, a lot of people don’t get a behind the scenes look at what it takes to produce the broadcast each week.

Senior Omar Hassan, WPLD’s broadcast editor, and junior Kennedy Gayheart, the Executive Producer, work together to plan, film and edit the broadcast.

“When we are not filming, we are making sure that the segments for the show are being completed,” Gayheart said.

In addition to anchors, WPLD has five segments each week: Club Spotlight, Sports Boys, “Maestro” segments and Geek Squad.

There are three different maestro teams that work during class to make segments about Dunbar or the school community. These teams work together to plan, interview, film, edit, write and take photos of the stories so that they are not only shown on WPLD, but also appear as multimedia features on PLD Lamplighter.

Freshman Ben Rains, Seniors Jason Ranft, and JT Jett, and Junior Savanna Montgomery are responsible for the weekly Club Spotlight. Their biggest challenges are to highlight school clubs while also providing a humorous segment to help recruit new members.

Ranft and Jett also assist with Sports Boys, along with seniors Asher Williams and Doug Wright. This segment is filmed live at different Dunbar sporting events in order to highlight Dunbar’s athletics.

A popular segment is aired at the end of every broadcast. Juniors Matthew Nichols and Clay Rains are our Geek Squad. This duo does skits, plays games, make music videos, and do “man on the street” interviews in the halls.

Every Monday, the staff gathers announcements from around the school whether it’s directly from teachers or from advertisements around the school. Gayheart then writes the anchor scripts and chooses anchors for the week.

“This is an essential part of the broadcast because a lot of responsibility rides on making sure every group or club is represented,” she said.

After the script is written, the anchors for that week’s broadcast get the chance to practice before filming. The anchors change weekly so everyone gets the chance to be on camera.

Typically, filming takes place on a Tuesday or Wednesday so that there is time to edit the footage, leaving space for each segment to be added. Because Dunbar doesn’t have dedicated studio space, anchors are usually filmed in the Dunbar Den.

“Filming itself is stressful yet enjoyable,” Gayheart said. “The time constraint is usually the cause of the stress, but over time we have gotten faster at setting up. When a person is on camera for the first time in a semi-professional setting, they often times become nervous and vulnerable.”

Gayheart said that she begins editing the next day using Adobe Premiere Pro. She creates the framework of the weekly broadcast which includes the intro and outro, announcements with labels and video transitions. This takes a total of about two hours to complete.

Next, the segments have to be completed, and most are not finished until Friday, or even over the weekend if there is a sporting event that needs to be covered. Each segment team edits their own work and then shares it with Hassan.

Every weekend, Hassan finishes up editing all of the segments and then combines everything into one full show.

In total, WPLD staff members spend around five hours editing the show.

“Some weeks, things don’t always work out as we planned,” Hassan said. “If we lose footage or forget to film a clip, we have to go back and film it again and ask our anchors to re-wear what they wore the day that we filmed. Thankfully, this has only happened a couple of times and we have gotten more organized with each show.”

Being the editors of WPLD is a major time commitment, but Gayheart and Hassan said that they work very hard to create a show every week that not only informs, but also entertains viewers.

“We feel a sense of pride when we see our work being shown to the whole school as well as viewers on the website or app,” Gayheart said. “We often have hard critics but this pushes us to make our product better.”

Hassan is graduating in May, but Gayheart plans to continue with PLD Lamplighter to produce WPLD next year.

“Both of us have bonded over the year as friends and we like working together every day in class,” Hassan said. “We have a lot of fun filming the show and have made great memories together.”

WPLD airs every Monday during third block for students and is posted on our web site, social media accounts, and on our app.

Students who are interested in joining PLD Lamplighter can apply by contacting adviser, Mrs. Wendy Turner, at [email protected]. Applications are due by Feb. 1.