Monday, November 19

Bruins Talking


Four decades in the making,

By Josh Mason Daily Bruin Contributor

Few Bruin sports fans are familiar with one of UCLA’s hidden
gems – "Bruin Talk," a unique student-run television talk show that
features interviews with UCLA coaches and athletes but remains
little known despite 23 years of production and airing in the Los
Angeles area.

The weekly show’s central focus is UCLA athletics. Two Bruin
sports teams are featured during each half-hour airing and are
interviewed by two hosts, newscaster Marcola Washington and Keith
Owens, a former UCLA basketball player and current sports
correspondent for Fox Sports West.

Each team is interviewed in a 15-minute segment, with a couple
of players or coaches representing the team. The production staff
attempts to feature a coach and a player in each segment, though
that is not always the case. The interviews range from topics such
as the team’s season progress to emphasis on the individual
achievements of the athletes.

The show also names an athlete of the week, determined by the
UCLA Athletic Department, and provides a schedule of games to be
held in the coming week – promoting attendance at upcoming UCLA
events.

"The show gives the viewers a better sense of the athletes and
the coaches of smaller sports by exposing them to those athletes
and coaches they may not usually follow or have a chance to follow
because of a lack of coverage," senior co- producer Michelle Cole
said.

"Bruin Talk" analyzes UCLA athletes and programs not normally
accessible on other sports talk shows. The show’s producers try to
arrange for every sport to appear at least once during the
production year, sometimes inviting back certain sports for
extended coverage.

Going further than just familiarizing viewers with UCLA players,
"Bruin Talk" provides an opportunity for athletes and coaches to
gain experience communicating with the media. It also serves as a
recruiting tool, as athletes are often encouraged to describe their
college experiences as well as their reasons for attending
UCLA.

"The great thing about the show is that it serves two
functions," said Rose Huelskamp, a show advisor from the UCLA
Athletic Department. "On one level it helps promote UCLA athletics,
and on another it provides hands-on experience to those students
who get involved with the show’s production."

"Bruin Talk" has been on the air since 1978, when it first
debuted as a half-hour talk show to promote involvement in women’s
sports. Now in its fourth decade, the show has expanded, moved from
black-and-white to color and gradually integrated male sports into
its weekly agenda.

Though the show has evolved in format and targeted audience, its
production scheme has not changed: to boast an entirely student-run
staff.

"It’s very important that the show is student run," Cole said.
"Not only is it more personal in that it enables UCLA students to
decide what Bruin fans are interested in seeing, but it also gives
students an opportunity to find out first-hand how production
works."

The current "Bruin Talk" production team consists of four UCLA
students. Seniors Cole and John Tovar produce the show, and
sophomores Melanie Kersler and Jen Taylor are the
producers-in-training. Associate Athletic Director Michael
Sondheimer serves as the executive producer and oversees the show’s
progress.

The production staff share several duties during the show’s
bi-weekly Wednesday tapings, including talking with coaches and
setting up interviews, preparing questions for the show and
handling the audio equipment, cameras and graphics during on-air
production.

"I came on to the show with little experience in working the
cameras or audio or graphics," Kersler said. "Now I’m actually
considering some related field for a future career.

"Not only has the show been a good experience for me, but it has
been fun to work on because it provides the best of both the sports
and entertainment worlds," Kersler added.

"Bruin Talk" currently reaches a potential viewership of 2.7
million people in the Los Angeles county area, while recently
adding Santa Barbara to its viewership. The production team hopes
to expand throughout California and promote the show through newer
avenues.

"We’re looking for newer and better ways to let people know
about ‘Bruin Talk,’" Kersler said. "It’s a great show, but not many
people really know about it yet."

"Bruin Talk" tapings occur once every two weeks, and the edited
show airs two weeks later at various times. The show airs in
Westwood every Sunday at 4:30 p.m. on channel 77, or channel 22 in
the dorms.

Information and clips of "Bruin Talk" can also be accessed by
going to the Athletic Department Web site at

www.uclabruins.com.

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