BY: Margaret Scott (’18)
Freshman year has been a whirlwind for Rachael Eyler, who is a Broadcast Journalism major. She is involved in numerous projects throughout the department, even producing her own segments on 91.7 VMFM and co-hosting a new live show for TV-Marywood. She took some time to answer questions about her first year in the Comm Arts Department at Marywood.
What activities/organizations/clubs do you take part in on campus?
Oh Lord, I think the real question is what don’t I take part in? I pretty much try to do everything at least once so I can figure out what I really want to do with my career.
I am the multimedia editor for The Wood Word, but I also write for the news and community sections. I am a DJ on Marywood’s radio station 91.7 VMFM, TV-M coordinating package producer, as well as a producer of two shows for both TV-M and 91.7 VMFM.
One of the shows I produce is called “Her Alternative” and airs on VMFM every Friday night from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The show features alternative female single artists, musicians, and bands that have impacted alternative music over the years. It is one of my favorite things to do here in the department because it’s honestly a relaxing period for me. In the midst of all the things I do for two hours, I get to listen to music and learn about the history of all these amazing artists.
The second show I produce and co-host is a new original talk show called “Late Night Marywood,” which airs every Monday night at 9 p.m. on TV-Marywood’s Facebook live. “Late Night Marywood” is the first original program series to be kick-started on TV-M. Every week, I script, block and produce the show and with my amazing crew; we put on this show and it is honestly just like magic.
I think that is what is so amazing with this department. You can do anything, no matter how crazy and unrealistic the idea is, even as a freshman. And you have the full support of your peers who want to help as much as they can.
What made you interested in being a student in the Comm Arts Department at Marywood?
Honestly, whenever I am asked this question I truly have to think about this answer. But I think of all the reasons I wanted to be a part of this department would be the people at Marywood.
The first person I met here was Dr. Wotanis at an open house, and then I was able to sit in on her News Writing class during my overnight last year. I could tell how much she really cared about her students and wanted to see them succeed. Also, she is still one of the influences in my decision to come here because she always supports my ambitions no matter how crazy they are. She is truly someone I very much respect and look up to.
Dr. Wotanis is just one of the many people who make this program worth every minute of my time. Even within my first few weeks here, there were so many upperclassmen who really took me under their wing and have helped me during my first year here at Marywood.
Specifically, there are four students who have made me want to be a part of this department: Rachel Looker, Anne Zukowski, Bethany Wade, and Kyle Clouse. I aspire to achieve so much in this department just like they have. All of them have been my mentors and showed me the ways around the department. They have really made me feel like a part of a family, which is something I admired about this program.
What class (or classes) so far has been your favorite in the department?
Personally, I am really fond of my journalism classes with Dr. Wotanis especially because of all that is happening politically right now with journalists. News Writing and Intro to Electronic Journalism have really intrigued me because you get to analyze the elements that build a news article. Since I am part of The Wood Word staff, I already have a foundation in news writing, so this class is really helping become better at writing for The Wood Word and locking in that foundation.
What has it been like to produce projects such as “Her Alternative” on 91.7 VMFM, and “Late Night Marywood”? What did you take away from the experiences of taking on these projects?
It is honestly very surreal; I am still recovering from all the excitement of “Late Night Marywood’s” premiere! It was a lot of work. I pitched the talk show idea back in the first semester and it’s been in the works since. I can’t lie, I had a lot of doubt, not so much in the show itself, but more so in myself. Being a freshman and not knowing how to write a script or a run down and to overall produce an entire show is frightening. Plus, on top of that, if this show went through it would be the first original program series for TV-M and that is a really big deal for a lot of people.
Since this was my first time writing a script and run down I learned a lot. And that is what being not only a journalist but a communication student is all together–its learning on the job.
I have to say I couldn’t put this show on alone. I could not be prouder of my amazing team! They worked so hard and their energy on set made it so much easier for my co-host Anne and me to have just as much energy for the show.
Producing “Her Alternative” was kind of the same, but a little less complicated. I love music and I grew up on country and Christian rock so I was really interested in learning more about alternative music, especially because I never listened to it. During my first semester, I deejayed a regular formatted show and dipped my toe into alternative music. As I started to become more comfortable on air I really loved researching the artists and looking at their background and what their music was really about. So as I listened to the station while not on air, I noticed how few female artists were featured on the station even in the weekly top five and album releases. I decided to go to the station manager Kyle Clouse and that’s when I pitched “Her Alternative.”
Doing these shows has really helped me grow, not just as a journalist but also knowing how to work behind the scenes and everything that goes in to putting on a show.
Overall, it was great to see the similarities but other differences from producing a show on TV and on radio.
What advice would you offer a prospective student looking to be a part of the Communication Arts department at Marywood?
There are so many things I could say. However, I have three mottos that may be helpful to other aspiring students in this field.
First is always “zazz it up!” I started this saying when a couple of students had to record an audio promo for 91.7 VMFM. It means to say it like you mean it and do it with energy. Whether you’re a journalism or digital media major, you need to commit to what you are doing and have a lot of energy while doing it.
My second motto is to continue to go the distance and chase your dreams. This department offers you the chance to do anything you want so early in your education and not many school do that. I have huge dreams. I aspire to be one of the first American news anchors for BBC London News, host a talk show or even work as an executive producer for Ellen DeGeneres or Jimmy Fallon.
The experiences I have here at Marywood working with TVM, The Wood Word and 91.7 VMFM, I know will help me prepare for my future. So no matter what your dreams are, this department will help you be prepared for them.
Lastly, just always stay humble and kind. As Dr. Wotanis says, “Life is one big group project.” You are going to have to work with people you don’t like and some you do. I have come to find I was lucky to come into this program with a lot of previous experience while others did not. Use your previous knowledge to always help your peers and let your peers also be your mentors. I won’t lie, I am the type of person who does not like to ask for help or disappoint people. Start to learn now you aren’t going to learn everything in a day. So stay humble and don’t be afraid to say “I need help,” and just continue to be kind to everyone, no matter how stressed, annoyed, or upset you may get during your college years.
Margaret Scott is a junior Advertising/Public Relations major. In her free time, she enjoys being a DJ for 91.7 VMFM and taking part in Marywood’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter.