Campus station debuts sports talk program

Palomar Telescope

Chelesnik

(October 11, 2004) "The Starting Lineup" debuted their vocal stylings on Sept. 7 after students spent three weeks of preparation in their sports broadcasting class.

The hour-long program, featured on KKSM AM 1320 on Tuesday nights from 6 to 7 p.m., focuses on local, regional and national sports news packed with features such as guest interviews, field reports, and the trivia spot "Five Question Mania."

"We start locally with the Padres, the San Diego State Aztecs, and we move on to regional and then national," said sports broadcasting professor Jon Chelesnik (left). "We always try to include something to do with Palomar, either football, soccer or basketball."

The format of the show is the brainchild of this semester’s students.

"They start from scratch at the beginning of the semester. They format the show during the first class meeting, and they go live by their third week," said student program director, Zeb Navarro. "It gives anybody the opportunity to produce their own program."

The class itself meets from the start of the show at 6 p.m. until 8:50 p.m., but students involved in hosting that night’s show meet an hour before the class starts to gather information and ideas for the night’s programming.

"We have to decide rather quickly what’s important and what people want to know about," said sports broadcasting student Paul Drivas.

The students are introduced to lecture material after each show and immediately begin putting it to use on air. Each show features one anchor and two hosts, as well as special reports from other students. A rotating shift ensures that everyone gets equal time on-air.

Chelesnik said this hands-on strategy, mixed with a broader view of the sports world, enhances the student’s education.

"We want to try to sound like a San Diego radio show," Chelesnik said. "We don’t want to sound like a campus radio show. We want the students to get in the frame of mind of working for a major radio station."

Chelesnik spent four years with the ESPN Radio Network and three years as host of The Football Network’s Weekend All Night sports talk show, as well as time with XTRA Sports 690 out of San Diego.

"This is my first teaching (job) and I love it," Chelesnik said. "The students have taken such a personal interest in making the show successful."

Chelesnik chose KKSM after working alongside some of its alumni.

"I worked with four graduates of Palomar’s radio program, and they were some of the best people out there," said Chelesnik, who also went to junior high school with the KKSM general manager Meg Banta.

"The strength is really the teacher, Jon Chelesnik," Drivas said. "He knows his stuff and he wants to help you out with whatever you need help with."

Sports broadcasting student, Zach Stone said working with Chelesnik has been a great learning experience.

"Jon tells us what we did that was good and things we shouldn’t do, but he always says it in a professional way," Stone said. "It’s constructive criticism and we learn a lot from it."

Banta said the show has provided an opportunity for different Palomar departments to bond over common interests, such as the show’s relationship with the Athletic Department, and has reached a national audience via Internet broadcasting.

"We’re getting calls from all over the U.S., cities like Chicago and New York, from parents who have students that play sports out here and love the show," Banta said.

According to Chelesnik, lessons during class in interviewing will stimulate more on-air chats in the upcoming weeks.

"We’re going to be interviewing current and former players and coaches, hopefully some who have ties to Palomar or North County," Chelesnik said. "We want to get all kinds of people."

Chelesnik continued to say students will have more opportunities to practice live field reports in the spring semester, broadcasting from Palomar baseball games and maybe a longer show.

"It would provide more opportunities to learn," Chelesnik said. "I want these guys to be six or seven years ahead in development than students coming from other campus radio stations and they are."