From Studio D to WTHR, CCIM alumni Seth Keever (‘06, TCOM) Dustin Grove (‘04, TCOM/JOUR) and Scott Hums (‘04, TCOM) have been working together since day one, literally. Almost 20 years after they first met, they all work for the same TV station —as Manager, Technology and Operations, News Anchor/Reporter, and Digital Director, respectively. We sat down with them to learn about the behind-the-scenes of their college days, and what happened after CCIM.
Writer: Caitlen Ramey, Department of Journalism Student • Interviewer: Any Ung, ’19 Telecommunications grad • Video: Ball State UMS & Chris Zurisk, Telecommunications Student
How did you all meet?
DG: We met in the old studio, Studio D, for the student newscast which was a student organization on campus. We literally ran into each other one day in the control room. I actually recruited Seth while he came in during a high school visit since he was interested in the news side of TCOM. Seth had an impressive reel from his Burris days so we were destined to work together once he became a Ball State Cardinal.
What kind of students were you?
SK: I would say that we spent most of our time working on the student newscast, we ate meals together, and worked on the show together. We were good students but we were focused on the work which is how we got to where we are.
DG: We were definitely driven. We knew what we wanted to do after we graduated, we had chosen Ball State for school because of the hands-on experiences that it provided so we took advantage and jumped right in. I personally probably spent way more time and energy in my CCIM classes than I maybe should’ve compared to my other classes. I just had such a passion for journalism and broadcasting that the possibilities of what I could achieve in this building seemed unlimited.
SH: We were really hard workers. So many of the relationships that we formed were because of the kind of students we were which bridged into our professional lives as well. When jobs were opening, our CCIM classmates were the first ones we’d call because we knew how they worked and the experiences they had. There are so many Ball State people that we work with now because of what we did because of the work we produced together as students.
So am I right in guessing that your favorite spot on campus was Studio D?
SH: Yes! We were doing newscasts Monday-Thursday twice a day, so Studio D really became our home. We were all on the management team so we really never left. We were a family, we ate together, had class together, watched TV together, and did the news together. It was hard to find a time where we weren’t in Studio D or alongside each other. But before Newslink came along it was NewsCenter43 and at the time it was not as technologically advanced as it is now. It was really the last hurrah for that studio and we got the most we possibly could out of the space.
SK: The work we did in that studio was thought to be technically impossible. Our team really pushed the envelope of what a student newscast could look like because of the drive we had and wanting to solve every possible problem.
It was fun just making television happen and doing it with a lot of great people
Can you tell us some of the strongest memories you have from your days in Studio D?
SH: I’d say that I can remember some of the stories that I did that I wouldn’t have been able to do if it wasn’t for my involvement. Dustin and I did a couple stories for CNN as CNN Student bureaus so we were given stories outside of Ball State to report on. I really enjoyed being out in the field and making really good television with good people, and the camaraderie—if you’ve never been in a newsroom before, it is very much that feel that everyone is in the same team and it is a great atmosphere to be part of. I can remember doing pieces on 9/11 and how the University was responding and a story about a 18 year old high school student who was running for sheriff to name a couple. I really just enjoyed being out in the field and making good television with my colleagues.
DG: I think one of the hardest days in everyone’s life was 9/11. Like many others, I remember where I was when I heard the news. Instinctively, I walked over to the Studio where I was greeted by the rest of the team. We didn’t call each other to meet there but we all just went to the Studio and got to work. It was a terrible day in history but we also knew that because of who we are we have to tell the story.
SK: A lot of what we have talked about is the news side of what we did but we did much more than that. We were involved in other shows and really lent our hand wherever help was needed to make it all happen. The best part of being a CCIM student was everything that we got to do. I not only had the opportunity to do the newscast and be a part of the production team but I also had my hand in Connections Live, the Ball State sports network and WIPB. I really had the opportunity to do things that I never thought I would be able to do as a student, and it’s what I’m doing now in my career.
What Professors made a lasting impact on you?
All: Steve Bell!
DG: We can all agree that Steve Bell had a significant impact on us from day one. We are where we are today because of him and all of the professors in the college. Bell really made us think about issues in both the Muncie and Ball State community but also the world and their effect. He really taught us that stories are not just black and white but there is a lot of gray, and how to tell that story on television. He impacted us professionally, and personally as well. After we graduated, we would catch up and go to dinner and we really did stay in touch up until his last days.
SH: Phil Bremen also had a lasting impact on us. It wasn’t a traditional student-professor relationship because so much of what we were doing was this creative process of making something. Whether it was Phil overseeing us or Jim Chaskey overseeing Connections, they were part of the crew. They were not necessarily the professor who was giving a lecture. They were challenging us and pushing us. It was a very unique way to have an educational experience because it was so interactive.
SK: It also showed us how the relationship can be built in the industry. The only reason why I was able to have my first job was Tim Underhill and Terry Heifetz both knew someone and made a call on my behalf, and that got me started at Channel 6 in Indianapolis. I never had to leave the industry thanks to that call Tim Underhill made. The level of passion they had and the willingness to go out of their way to work on our behalf is something that I don’t think I expected coming into a university of this size.
DG: The faculty really wants us to succeed and we saw that, and continue to see it. One of the things I remember and appreciate about Terry Heifetz in particular is that we had to turn in our scripts before we edited our stories, and he would rip my story apart every single time. I was so frustrated at the time but looking back it really made me a better reporter.
Overall, the Ball State experience wouldn’t have been the same if it wasn’t for our relationship with one another as well as our professors. The relationships we built here really carried into our career. From telling the news in studio D to WTHR in Indianapolis, We are happy to say that we wouldn’t have gotten here if it wasn’t for Ball State.