The MSU Telecasters keep students tuned in by producing four television shows aimed at connecting students to college life and keeping viewers coming back for more with new and entertaining storylines each episode.
Completely student-produced, “Sideshow,” “MSU Upfront,” “The Show” and “MSU & U” display an array of premises from sketch comedy to political discussions. From the acting and filming to the editing and directing, the MSU telecasters are behind every step.
“A lot of telecasters are telecommunication majors but not all,” Ryan Alloway, MSU Telecasters communications director, said. “There is a wide variety from advertising to journalism. These are a lot of different people who probably wouldn’t hang out with each other otherwise.”
In 2006, the group was awarded a First Place Award in the College TV Large Group category for a video entitled, “MSU Telecasters: An Inside Look.” The documentary gives the viewer a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the making of each show. The award is also known as a “Michigan Emmy.” Alloway said the award has brought more notoriety to the program. But even though national recognition strengthens the program, the Telecasters' purpose has always been to entertain.
Alloway started his telecasting career as an actor on “Sideshow,” MSU’s sketch comedy show. “Sideshow” is similar to “Mad TV” and “Saturday Night Live.”
“We make fun of a lot of things as well as use our own unique material, all written by students,” Alloway said. The satire references MSU and pop culture, such as “Grey’s Boonatomy,” and a parody rendition of singer Fergie’s “London Bridge” entitled “Eiffel Tower.”
“MSU & U” connects students to college life and highlights new happenings around campus. The show features athlete interviews, tailgating culture and Spartan fans. MSU & U reporters have access to behind-the-scenes coverage of MSU sports and have a seasoned knowledge of the university.
“MSU Upfront” is similar to an evening news program and features a range of segments that facilitate discussions with students about relevant issues, such as politics, sports and music. This year the show will have a game show format focusing on pop culture, MSU and other aspects of college life.
Last but not least, there is “The Show” which is the Telecasters’ longest-running production as well as the longest-running college sitcom in the United States. The sitcom follows the life of five undergraduate students living in Wilson Hall and is recorded in front of a live audience. No laugh track is needed as the witty writing keeps the audience laughing.
or the past 20 years, all of these shows have aired only on campus and the East Lansing area. But what happens on campus stays on campus no more. “The Show” and “Sideshow” will now broadcast throughout western Metro Detroit on a public access channel every Friday night.
“Before the shows were for college students but now they will get out to a broader audience,” Alloway said.
The programs will air in 26 cities around the western Metro Detroit area on the local Comcast listing. “The Show” will start at 11 p.m. and “Side Show” will follow at 11:30 p.m.
The programs air in the residence halls and on campus on RHA-TV channel 11. “MSU & U” airs Tuesdays at 7 p.m. “Sideshow” and “The Show” air back to back on Wednesdays at 7 and 7:30 p.m.
Anyone can tune in to Comcast East Lansing, Lansing, Okemos and Dewitt channel 28 on campus, 30 off campus and 16 in Lansing. Sideshow airs Friday at 8:30 p.m. and The Show at 9 p.m. MSU and U and MSU Upfront will air back to back at these times next month and the shows will continue to switch on a bi-weekly basis.
The Web site, telecasters.msu.edu,now has a forum where MSU telecasting alumni can post what they have been up to since graduation. With many distinguished telecasters past, Alloway says it is a good way to keep track of alumni and can also present students networking opportunities.
According to Alloway, the Telecasters have received accolades and awards because of their through reporting, thoughtful writing and deliberate producing. But such meticulousness doesn’t come without sacrifice. To be an effective part of the program requires a significant time commitment.
“Each show meets 1 to 3 times a week,” Alloway said. “The time commitment increases with more responsibility, but it’s a good thing. I always say it’s 70 percent of my college experience.”
Alloway insists the time given to the work isn’t time lost. Seeing their shows enjoyed by others is enough reward to keep the crew hungry for more. “It’s intense but worth it. I love to hear people laugh during viewings. It’s very rewarding,” Alloway said.