BE HEARD! TV: For youth, by youth
Post Independent Contributor
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Stay tuned for BE HEARD! TV in three … two … one … action!
Every Tuesday at 7 p.m., a television talk show airs live from the YouthEntity space at Carbondale’s Bridges High School. BE HEARD! TV, a trademarked project of True Media Foundation, is a hip, fast-paced, interactive digital media experience created by – and starring – local youth.
“The thing I love most about BE HEARD! TV,” said host Isaac Carlson, a Glenwood Springs High School senior, “is that it’s the only place to have a universal platform for youth to talk about hot-button issues and get our opinion out there.”
This is Carlson’s first season as the show’s host, but he’s been involved with True Media for eight years. “My mother [playwright Kristin Carlson] wrote a script for a True Media Foundation production,” said Carlson, recalling his first brush with television. He accompanied her to the shoot and True Media director Chris Tribble asked him to lend a hand. “I was already interested in television production,” he said. “But after having that actual experience, I was hooked.”
Now, Carlson is in front of the camera each week with four local teens, discussing issues ranging from media manipulation and teen drinking to gun violence, reality TV, and the psychology of self-esteem. The webcast is designed and produced by students enrolled in a 10-credit class taught by Tribble and associate producer and marketing director Elizabeth Drolet.
Tribble explained that this year’s weekly panel discussions are a return to the show’s original format. “BE HEARD! started in 2000, and we veered off into a magazine show with two hosts and various segments,” he said. The Telly Award-winning magazine shows and the True Media Foundation projects were produced between 2003 and 2010, and the original BE HEARD! shows aired on PBS.
Students created a video for CARE, a local animal shelter, which Tribble said boosted the shelter’s donations by 40 percent. He calls it a “win-win-win” situation. “The youth get technical experience; they create a story that has social value; and they give back to the community,” he said.
This year’s talk shows are taped in front of a studio audience, live-streamed on Facebook, and later posted to YouTube. The show is all about Generation Z, which fits with the mission of True Media Foundation, Tribble’s 33-year-old production company. “Most youth [television] shows have two kids on camera, but there are no kids behind the scenes,” said Tribble. Not so with BE HEARD! TV.
A typical show day begins in the morning. “Two or three of us who have flexible high school schedules come in and set up,” Carlson explained. That means turning the YouthEntity space from an office and classroom into a professional-looking talk show set.
The crew arrives at 4:30 p.m. for a tech rehearsal. “There are three cameramen, one person who runs the audio board, a director, a tech director, a floor manager and a teleprompter,” explained Carlson. “All of them are 18 and under.” At 6 p.m., the panelists arrive for a quick run-through, and the cameras roll at 7 p.m.
Two girls and two boys are selected each week as panelists from a pool of Re-1 students who took part in a January casting call at Glenwood Springs High School.
And the audience doesn’t just sit and watch. “Teens can blog during the show on Facebook,” said Drolet. “A microphone is also [in the studio] so people from the audience can come up anytime during the show and comment.” Drolet added that BE HEARD! TV attracts 200 Facebook viewers per week.
In addition to the talk show, True Media students are producing “I Am Financial Knowledge,” an educational video and workbook series for the Re-1 school district.
Tribble said what students learn at True Media prepares them for the highly competitive world of television journalism. “They have a broader foundation of knowledge of what jobs are out there,” he explained. “Knowing about video production gives them a leg up.”
For Carlson, that leg up has led to a grant from Columbia College Chicago to study film and television. “True Media has had an astronomical effect on me as a videographer,” he said.
BE HEARD! TV is taped every Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the YouthEntity Building at Bridges High School. Catch it in person at 355 S. Third St. in Carbondale or watch it live on Facebook at “be heard! tv.” Past shows are available on YouTube’s “be heard! tv live” channel.
For more information, contact 963-1115 or “like” BE HEARD’s Facebook page.
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UPDATE 5:27 p.m. — Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon has reopened in both directions Saturday evening after a safety closure due to a flash flood warning. There were no reported mud/debris slides.