Gillian Schrader, a double major in broadcast journalism and television video production from Saratoga Springs is currently the manager and executive producer of PSTV—SUNY Plattsburgh’s student television station. Offered to communications, TV video, broadcast journalism and digital media majors, the course is meant to introduce students to the real world of broadcasting by allowing each person to have a role that mimics a real-world broadcast journalism job in a television studio.
Schrader runs the overall production of PSTV. She first became interested in the behind the scenes of media as a sophomore in high school. Her love for films and music made her think, “I want to be on TV so bad!”
She decided she wanted to be a news reporter and declared her major as broadcast journalism when she got to SUNY Plattsburgh. While following this major, Shrader took an advanced editing course and realized she liked television post-production more than news reporting. This led her to become a TV video production major her sophomore year in addition to majoring in broadcast journalism. Shrader also has a minor in political science.
After college, Schrader hopes to work her way up and become an assistant producer or news producer for experience. She wants this to lead to working in post-production in Los Angeles or for a big conglomerate company like Netflix, Paramount or Lionsgate and potentially work on Oscar and/or Emmy winning films. Out of the three, her top pick would be working for Netflix. She enjoys the Netflix Originals they’ve been putting out since they began producing their own movies and has some ideas of her own to bring to the table. Her ultimate dream, however, is to have her own late night show that she produces—especially because that specific field is mostly male-dominated.
Instead of functioning in the usual “teacher is in charge” set up, PSTV is run more by Shrader herself, while Professor John Chambers oversees the course.
“They try to make it as realistic as what a kind of workforce television studio would be like,” Schrader said.
This helps managers to learn leadership skills and gives members with other positions a real life feel of that specific job.
This semester, there are six shows. They alternate these shows by having three days of one specific show each week. Last week they ran “Earthly Shadows,” an eerie show about conspiracy theories and corruption in the government, music industry and film industry. Before each show PSTV, members (crew and managers) meet up at 6:30 p.m. to do a practice run of the live newscast, where Alex Ladstatter, the news director, makes sure everythings in place. This means taking care of what positions the crew members are going to be in, who’s anchoring, who’s doing weather and what stories will be talked about. At 7, they go live. The newscast lasts about 30 minutes. They then air that week’s show.
Even with COVID, it’s still mandatory that members of PSTV meet in person.
“There’s no getting around it, everything’s so hands on,” Schrader said. However, this has been a challenge for some as a result of the ongoing pandemic. The PSTV team has had to deal with members being placed under quarantine. This has been a main issue for PSTV this year as some people aren’t following the virus regulations and/or have been coming in contact with the virus from people around them. This has slowed down the production of the class and has also stirred up conflict within the team. As a result, Schrader has had to talk to individuals personally who have hindered productivity.
“It might be awkward, but it needs to be done because it needs to be a safe environment for the rest of the group that have these concerns,” Schrader said.
Even with COVID challenges, members still have an appreciation for PSTV. Cameron Kaercher, a junior majoring in TV-video production with a minor in film studies, who is a producer for PSTV, said, “having ‘class’ with PSTV is the best part of my day…Despite COVID pool tests putting students in precautionary quarantine, Gillian has handled it well and our shows are still getting made. This semester could not have happened without her and our professor John Chambers.”