OSWEGO — For Griffin Bruce, seeing a promotional spot he produced for SUNY Oswego’s student-run TV station WTOP win national recognition was a great payoff for the club that convinced him to attend the college and made his time there so rewarding.
The one-minute promo — which used historical and current footage from WTOP with original music and additional effects — earned fourth place in the Best Promo category, announced during College Broadcasters Inc.’s National Student Electronic Media Convention in Seattle in late October.
“I was extremely proud of our campus to place within a category,” said Melissa Wilson, the general manager of WTOP. “Being able to go to Seattle and represent our station of 200-plus members and SUNY Oswego was exciting.”
Bruce sees the award as a result of the opportunities the station presents. “WTOP was so important for me, and it took leaving that organization to really see its value,” the 2018 broadcasting graduate said. “Until you land that job in television, it will never be that easy to create true television content, which is a true blessing that WTOP offers right on campus.”
Wilson, who is in the master’s in strategic communication program at Oswego after earning her bachelor’s in broadcasting from the college, said the promo was one of 994 entries in 27 categories, many from much larger universities and programs.
The convention brings together student media in television and radio stations to celebrate what they do and to learn from each other, Wilson said. Presenters represent “a nice selection” of students, advisers and professionals who help student media organizations and members become better broadcasters and better leaders, she added.
Bruce created the video in summer 2017 in advance of the club’s first general interest meeting in his new role of vice president of creative services. He wanted a standout piece so WTOP could hit the ground running.
“Whenever I begin editing a video, I always begin with the song,” Bruce recalled. “I find it’s easier to manipulate clips around the beat or flow of a song, than vice versa. That being said, finding the perfect song is often times very difficult.”
He was also concerned about potential copyright issues of putting the video on YouTube, so he thought up a riff and beat and sent it to his friend and classmate, Dave Manke. He asked if Manke could make a one-minute song around the beat in exchange for food from Wonzones Calzones in Oswego.
“Naturally, he accepted and did an amazing job,” Bruce said. Toward the end of the summer, Bruce put all the pieces together, editing in his bedroom and shooting additional clips to bring his vision to life.
“With a little inspiration from YouTube, a little purchase of an old photo album from the Salvation Army and a little help from my brother’s hands moving said album (in the clip), the edit kind of put itself together,” Bruce explained.
He said feedback from the rest of WTOP’s executive board made it even better and reinforced the importance of working together for a finished product.
The opportunity to take a leadership role in the station’s creative work allowed him to expand his experience and knowledge more than he ever expected.
“In that year I served in the VP role, I really didn’t create as much as I imagined,” Bruce said. “But rather, I facilitated and managed creative works — which I found to be more beneficial to my personal growth. Outside of work, I created amazing friendships with dozens of Toppers, and grew an awesome little family amongst our E-Board.”
As he starts his career in New York City, with the national award on his resume, Bruce is ultimately happy with how his creation and its recognition can help WTOP.
“This club is the reason why I decided to go to SUNY Oswego in the first place,” he said. “In my four years at Oswego, I saw the club mold to the new demands of the media world, presenting more opportunities to create unique and cutting-edge work. If this little video that I created in a week in my bedroom can provide more value to the club that can transform a college experience, then I’m super stoked.”
To learn more about WTOP, visit www.WTOP10.com. To learn more about Oswego’s broadcasting degrees and related programs, visit www.oswego.edu/communication-studies.