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GNTV: Introduction

Hello everyone, I’m Rebecka McAleer from the VSU Spectator. You may know me as author of the ‘Additive Noise’ music column, but this summer I’ll be doing something different. In my downtime during the summer I take the opportunity to work for a traveling media production company called Good News Television Ministry, or GNTV for short. GNTV is the official source for audio and video production in the South Georgia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. This will be my second summer as an intern for the company, and this year I’ll be taking you on the journey with me.

First stop is our home office, located in my hometown of Macon, Georgia. Our office is actually a renovated space that was once a church. It looks nothing like a church on the inside, though.

I spend most of my time in one of two places. The first is called “the studio,” even though the name isn’t really accurate anymore. Back in the 1970s when the company was founded the studio was actually a real television studio. They filmed for one of the local channels. Fun fact: Back in the 70s and 80s, my mother actually worked for GNTV. There are some old pictures of her in the studio, filming. Today the studio is used for mass storage of large, bulky equipment that GNTV takes on the road. We do more live event coverage now, and the studio is where we keep our stuff when we’re not dragging it across the country.

The other place you can usually find me is in the duplication area. It’s a small room at the very far end of the building that houses all of the equipment we use to make CDs and DVDs of our work and send them to anyone who orders them from our online store. The duplication area holds mountains of blank discs and disc sleeves, as well as a disc label printer and two disc duplicator machines. In my spare time, I do a lot of duplication and shipping.

The fun thing about working with GNTV is that it really feels like you’re with family—literally. The founder and longtime CEO just retired this past year and handed the reins over to his son, who is now the new CEO, but they really run the business together. Everyone is treated like part of their family, thanks to our job involving such close quarters. We spend 70-percent of our time on the road, packed together in vans, on planes, and in various hotel rooms. After the first week, we’re more like brothers and sisters than coworkers.

This year I have seven or eight ‘brother and sister’ interns. For their privacy (and my entertainment) I will not be naming them, but using codenames instead. This week I worked in the office with my friend Ratchet, who also happens to be a VSU student. He’ll be my video director for most of the summer—more on that later. We also have new female intern Ginger, who is seriously excited to learn about live audio production. She’s the bright and bubbly personality of our office. Returning from previous years are my buddies Sully and Abu. They’ve both worked for GNTV for years, and they graduated from college this year. Later in the summer we’ll be teaming up with returning intern Prism, who hails from Kentucky, and we might even pick up former intern Angel while we’re there. Angel’s a bit older than most of the intern crew, so he might only show up for a little bit. There are also some new interns joining us that I haven’t met yet, so we’ll be meeting them later together.

At this moment, I’m not actually on the road—I worked one week in the office getting things ready to go for the summer, but now I’m on vacation. I’m taking my vacation break early this summer so I can attend my brother’s wedding in Washington DC. However, GNTV will be moving while I’m not there. Ratchet and Abu are headed out with the first crew to cover the Detroit Annual Conference meeting starting Monday, and Thursday will see Ginger, Sully and one of the new interns shipping off to Birmingham, Ala. for Graduation Activities.

In the meantime, here are some of the things we did in the office this week. We packed up all of the supplies needed for Monday’s trip to Detroit, which filled about half of a 24-foot Freightliner semi. We sorted out different kinds of cable (VGA for video signals, XLR for audio, and BNC for live camera feeds) and packed them into large plastic tubs on wheels (about the size of your average coffee table, but 3 feet tall). We finished up duplicating all of our discs from the past few months so that the duplication area will be clean and ready for our incoming material. We spent a good amount of time cleaning large projection screens in many sizes. We packed sound boards, cameras, video switchers, DVD recorders, and many other fun toys into action packer tubs, and put them on the big truck with speakers, projectors, screens, and seven feet of hanging truss. Truss is the big metal strip you see above you at concerts, where they hang all of the lights. That’s what we do.

For many people this might all sound a bit overwhelming, but I promise I will help explain it all later. In the meantime, hang tight and enjoy your summer!

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