Walpole High School TV Studio Undergoes Transformation


Julia Sandquist

When students walked into the Walpole High TV production classroom for the first time this year, they noticed something glaringly different: the old TV room, which functioned as both a classroom and studio in one room, had completely disappeared. In its place was a new renovated studio with three rooms featuring a state of the art control center, a new carbonite model video switcher, a PreSonus 32 channel digital board, and a green screen.

In 2013, Selectmen cut off Walpole Community Television (WCTV) revenue from Comcast and Verizon because the station refused to make changes in its management of the money, and they suspected that WCTV workers were using the money for personal profit. For the WCTV to survive, it had to merge with Walpole High school’s Television studio, and the remainder of its funds funded the studio’s $300,000 renovation.

The funds have allowed TV production teacher Mr. O’Farrell and WCTV workers to equip the new studio with professional state-of-the art equipment. The brand new control center, which came with a 100,000 price tag, is the prized possession of the new studio. It also features new offices for the Walpole Community Television workers who are now working at the school with students.

TV Production teacher Peter O’Farrell said, “It has been fantastic to be able to work with the Walpole Community Television workers because they have the ability to teach the students the complex art form of TV production, which allows the students’ skills to extend beyond the technical aspect of it.” Working with town workers will also give students more internship and job opportunities outside of school.

Mr. O’Farrell urges students to take initiative to put together their own news stories. The new audio board creates opportunities for student bands to play their favorite songs and record their music and allows students to feature additional segments, such as weather and sports with the morning announcements on the Walpole High School channel.

“I have begun planning a new sports show to be played during the Rebel Report in the morning. I will provide coverage of all the week’s sports and conduct interviews with sports captains and prominent players. None of this would have been possible without the new equipment,” said senior Loveindjy Salvant.

As expected, there have been difficulties with the new studio, including figuring out how to operate the new technology and broadcasting morning announcements. Another challenge for the studio this year is the increasing class size; Mr. O’Farrell now teaches five classes with 20-24 kids in each, doubling the size of classes last year. These statistics reveal that enthusiasm for TV production is evident among the student body, but it will be a challenge for  Mr. O’Farrell to give students the same individualized attention he provided for them last year.

“The renovation of the studio is a step in the right direction for our school system. The art of television production allows students to find relief from their largely academic workload and exercise their individuality,” said senior Matt Moriarty.

Walpole Community Television’s money will allow the TV studio to purchase more new equipment to increasingly improve its quality and efficiency. For example, Mr. O’Farrell plans to purchase a drone that can film sports games and practices from an aerial angle.

“Every time a student or teacher sets foot in the new studio for the first time, they are amazed at the transformation that has occurred,” said Mr. O’Farrell. “My main goal this year is for kids to learn and use their talents to develop the program into something bigger and better: the success of the new studio depends on student initiative and creativity.”