'Tornado TV' gets students excited

Television class makes youthful broadcasters eager for school, teacher says.

March 24, 2011|By Megan O┬┐Neil,
  • Shane Vera, 17, operates the video camera and Greg Kalfayan, 17, interviews Martin Rhees, the instrumental music teacher, for their broadcast journalism class at Hoover High School in Glendale on Wednesday, March 22, 2011. The class is launching their own magazine style television show which will air for the fist time this Saturday. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)
Shane Vera, 17, operates the video camera and Greg Kalfayan,…

It was supposed to be a nice, seasonal feature highlighting the perks of cutting down your own Christmas tree instead of purchasing a pre-cut fir from a lot. But what took Hoover High School’s film crew an entire day to produce was wiped out in seconds.

“We actually went to a place where you can chop down your own Christmas tree, did a whole day of shooting, and then somebody by accident recorded over it because [the tape] wasn’t labeled correctly,” on-air reporter Cain Buckler, 17, said.

It was just one of several learning-on-the-job experiences for a dozen Hoover students who have spent the last several months developing the high school’s television show, “Tornado TV,” set to air this weekend for the first time.

The inaugural episode, which will be broadcast 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on the Glendale education channel, Channel 15, will include an interview with NBA great Jerry Chambers, as well as features on the dangers of texting while driving, school spirit, and the recent drama production. It can also be viewed on the “Tornado TV” YouTube channel at


“Tornado TV,” set in motion in the fall with the support of Principal Jennifer Earl, is being produced as part of a class under the umbrella of the school’s journalism program, which already publishes a monthly student newspaper, the “Tornado Times.”

The magazine-style show is entirely student-driven, said teacher Brian Crosby.

“I am sitting there and I offer suggestions, but they definitely come up with their own ideas,” Crosby said.

Crew members are responsible for generating ideas, scheduling interviews, and shooting and editing video. Much of the learning is done on the go — students share with one another what they have picked up in past multimedia classes, or turn to tutorials on YouTube.

Among the most challenging aspects of his job as videographer with “Tornado TV” was mastering how to set up and dismantle the equipment, said David Bonilla, 17.

“You have to get lots of shots so your editor will have something to work with,” David said. “You always have to be thinking about what the editor can work with.”

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