5-4-3-2…you’re on the air!

(Photo: Gene St. Pierre '77)

(Photo: Gene St. Pierre '77)
On May 16, NBC 10 debuted a new anchor set and became the first station in Southern New England to produce local newscasts in high-definition.

About 6:23 that morning, as he left the old set to unveil the new one, "Sunrise" show news anchor Frank Coletta announced on air, “that this old war horse will not be going to the scrap heap,” and that it would go to RIC.

The old set, a fixture at Channel 10 since 1993, will allow students studying broadcast journalism and film production to navigate a real, working news set and equipment.

The set, still in excellent condition, consists of a four-position anchor desk, a backdrop, side panels and stands for cross-camera shots, three columns for monitors, plexiglass signage, a platform and anchor chairs.

Many of the state’s most respected news anchors and reporters have broadcast from behind what is now RIC’s news desk. In addition to Coletta, Gene Valicenti, Patrice Wood, Jim Taricani, Bill Rappeleye and Frank Carpano sat there until recently. Other notables include former NBC 10 anchors Larry Estepa, Ginger Casey, Karin Reed, Greg Liggins, Nicole Livas, Joe Rocco and John Ghiorse. And, of course, the late Doug White and Art Lake.

While a host of the TODAY show, Katie Couric made a surprise visit to the NBC 10 studios in 1993 to introduce what was then their new set.

This NBC 10 news set, which the station recently replaced, has found a new home in the RIC TV studio.
The request for the set came when NBC 10 partnered with RIC’s American Democracy Project during the 2010 election season to air three political debates from the college. Several of the Channel 10 directors and producers, some of whom are RIC grads, were impressed with the college’s media poise as well as student interest and participation.

Wally Franco ‘95, "Sunrise" show director, designed and built the new set for Channel 10 and was instrumental in RIC’s acquisition of the old one.

He said that students would now know what it is like to work in a real newsroom and understand the responsibilities of on-air talent and the technical elements associated with a newscast.

“It‘s a big step to the real world,” Franco said.

Liz Viall, who manages RIC’s TV studio and teaches television production courses at the college, said that the various pieces of the set offer many options for students to learn about set-up, camera angles and interview techniques.

“It isn’t as if we are locked into one look and that it is Channel 10 in a different place. There are a number of possibilities for use,” she said. “It’s a good teaching tool.”

Viall said that she will incorporate using the set’s components in her TV production classes, something she was unable to do in the previously empty studio, and that other communication classes that include interviewing and filming will benefit from having it as well.

“The set served NBC 10 well for 18 years and we believe its legacy will live on at Rhode Island College,” said Chris Lanni, NBC 10 news director.

Behind the backdrop is another gift from NBC 10 – the news anchors and reporters signed it for the RIC students who will use it.