The NFHS Network, the nation’s leading high school sports media company, hosted the inaugural NFHS Network Broadcast Academy on July 17-18 in Atlanta. The unique, interactive event included talks from successful sports broadcasters and media executives, hands-on broadcast training workshops and the first annual NFHS Network Broadcast Academy Awards. The awards ceremony was streamed live at and included behind-the-scenes updates on social platforms including Twitter and Snapchat from attendees using #BA2015.
Two Illinois high schools were represented at the event, including Boylan High School and Highland Park High School. Student broadcaster Sam Brief of Highland Park was named the Best Student Broadcaster during an awards ceremony on Saturday. Over 80 IHSA member schools are currently members of the NFHS Network.
On Friday, July 17, the participants attended the Atlanta Braves vs. Chicago Cubs game at Turner Field and were treated to an exclusive VIP behind-the-scenes tour. In a workshop setting on Saturday, July 18, the student broadcasters and teachers participated in producing a live sporting event, broadcasting a live studio show and creating an original feature package about the event.
The sizzle video featuring highlights of the event is available to view online at: http://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/nfhs/90ca579aa4.
The students also heard stories of success, first-hand accounts of life in the sports media industry and career advice from ESPN Studio Anchor Chris Cotter on A Day in the Life of a SportsCenter Anchor, Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin about The Evolution of Sports & Media, and ESPN and ABC Broadcaster Brad Nessler, who spoke to the students about his Journey as a Broadcaster.
Each speaker shared their experiences in the media industry as well as advice for the young students who dream of being in their shoes one day. Steve Koonin told the students, “Be willing to take a risk, be bold. You are going to make mistakes. You have to accept that failure is part of success.” Koonin also emphasized, “Have a unique voice. If you are a stereotype in this business, you are not going to have long-term success.”
Echoing Koonin, Brad Nessler recommended, “Take a shot at every opportunity. You’re never going to learn if you don’t take a shot.”
The high point of the event was the first annual NFHS Network Broadcast Awards Ceremony, hosted by NFHS Network’s Rashan Ali. High school broadcast teams and students were recognized in seven different categories and the 2015 winners are listed below:
- Best Overall School Broadcast Program
- Cleveland High School, TN
- Best New School Broadcast Program
- El Capitan High School, Merced, C
- Teacher of the Year
- Omar Delgado, Christopher Columbus High School, Miami, FL
- Best Live Sports Broadcast
- Florence High School, Florence, AL
- Best Original Programming
- Morning Show, Christopher Columbus High School, Miami, FL
- Best Student Broadcaster
- Sam Brief, Highland Park High School, Highland Park, IL
- Highlight of the Year
- "Bishop Kenny #9 Charles Wade 80yd TD run,” Bishop Kenny High School, Jacksonville, FL
Omar Delgado, broadcast program leader at Christopher Columbus High School in Miami, FL and Teacher of the Year, said the first annual NFHS Network Broadcast Academy is like nothing his students have ever participated in. “I’ve been to many broadcast and TV conferences and the truth of the matter is these sessions are unmatched. Fun, interactive, hands on and enjoyable. “
Sam Brief, student at Highland Park High School in Highland Park, IL and winner of the NFHS Network’s Best Student Broadcaster Award, shared how the NFHS Network connects long distance family members and reaches beyond the school’s local area. He explained, “This basketball season, our team had a lot of success and our coach’s parents live in Arizona. Normally, there would be no way for them to see their son’s game. Thanks to the NFHS Network, they were able to watch broadcasts of the games and sometimes we’d give them a shout out on the air!”