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Scripps Career Pathways: John Oyster, BSC '11, technical director and audio operator for Dispatch Broadcast Group

Nov 7, 2013

Scripps Career Pathways: John Oyster, BSC '11, technical director and audio operator for Dispatch Broadcast Group

John Oyster graduated from the Scripps College of Communication in 2011 with a bachelor of science in communication. He majored in video production. Oyster won a Sports Emmy for Outstanding Live Event Turnaround from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in May 2013 for his work on the 2012 Summer Olympics. Oyster was the assistant editor with NBC on features for the daytime show of the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Can you tell me what it was like covering the 2012 Olympics and winning your Emmy?
The whole broadcasting team won the EMMY for Outstanding Live Event Turnaround. It was three weeks long and we were on air almost 24 hours a day, covering hundreds of sporting events. It was a really good experience, I learned a lot, and it's amazing how many people it takes to run a massive production like that, smoothly. If I had to describe it in one sentence, I'd say it was stressful, yet rewarding. It took a lot of time and effort from hundreds of people. We worked 16-hour days everyday except Saturdays were 18 hours. For three weeks, I time crunched, but it was such a rewarding and positive experience, it was worth it in the end.

What do you do?
I work on live broadcasts in the afternoon and evening where I run audio, the video switcher and studio cameras.

How do you feel your Scripps College of Communication degree has helped you in your career thus far?
I really wanted to work in the film industry and single-camera production when I got to school. I joined AVW Productions and started working with multi-camera television shows, where I realized there is another medium out there. My favorite class was script analysis with Eric R. Williams, associate professor in the School of Media Arts & Studies. Athens Midday was also a big thing that got me into broadcasting. Every job I've gotten so far (has been) from people I met when I was going to school. That is the biggest way it has impacted my career: networking through the school.

How did your extracurricular activities or internship(s) help you with your career?
I interned with NewWave Entertainment in NYC. They really helped me get my foot in the door, and I received the job with NBC through them. I was with them from July through August 2010 and they got me more experience with the single-camera and post-production world of the entertainment industry.  

What is a typical day like for you in this position?
I come in at 3:45 p.m. and, depending on which position I'm in, I go around to check microphones, studio lights and the switcher and generally make sure everything is functioning. We go on air from 5 until 6:30 p.m., then we record a few promotions. At 9:30 p.m. we record our topical promotion, which is a 30-second promotion about what stories are coming up in the show. We go on air at 11 p.m. and get done at 11:45 p.m. and go home.

What is the most important thing you believe has helped you secure your current position?
Networking. It's key. It is a cliché, but it is really is about 70 percent who you know and 30 percent what you know. The job market isn't that great, and there are tons of other people fighting for the same jobs. The people who get to the top of the hiring list are people who know someone. All the jobs I have gotten have been based on knowing the right people, combined with my qualifications. The easiest way to get interviews is from knowing people.

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- Katie Quinn, social media intern