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The Lookout | June 5, 2020

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Behind the scenes of ‘Grand River Studio Sessions’

Behind the scenes of ‘Grand River Studio Sessions’

Sarah Spohn
A&E Editor

For many LCC students, the pathway to their degree includes term papers, a few projects and plenty of final exams.

For some media majors though, hands-on experience is booking bands, filming concerts and interviewing artists on camera.

What began as monthly LCC Radio member concerts has evolved into a collaboration between the campus radio station and LCC TV.

The idea was based off an original concert series held at different community venues around Lansing. The Grand River Radio concert series then turned into a live broadcast called the Grand River Radio Diner show.

A few years later, it is now the simulcast live-to-tape Grand River Studio Sessions, airing on radio and television.

Originally, the idea was to get a closer look at the bands and artists; almost like having a concert in your living room, according to WLNZ Station Manager Daedalian Lowry. The idea then snowballed into what it would be like to be able to sit in on a recording session.

The concerts, shot live-to-tape, include band interviews, stories and songs in each one-hour-long episode. Hosted by various LCC students, LCC Radio staff and volunteers, each episode features a different artist or band.

Lowry spoke about the focus on supporting the diverse local and Michigan music scene.

“We try to do different genres, as many as we can include,” Lowry said. “We have done everything from jazz to folk to blues; rock, alternative, singer songwriter, solo and bands.”

Some of the featured artists so far have included Bennett, Joe Hertler, Kaleido, Wisaal, Matt Moore, Off the Ledge and LCC Faculty Jazz Quartet Layers.

With the help of Media Services, the Grand River Studio Sessions is a professional product, great for both the bands and students involved with the series.

According to Lowry, it is with the help of students that these projects are so successful.

“Mike Steibel has been great in helping,” Lowry said. “He’s been the assistant producer of the show.”

Steibel, an LCC radio student employee, did everything from booking the bands to helping the set-up of the equipment.

For Steibel, working on these sessions was an eye-opening experience.

“It was an awesome opportunity to see first-hand how TV and media work, what goes on behind making a production like that,” Steibel said. “It was a great opportunity to grow. I’ve realized personally, I’ve really enjoyed it and would consider doing it in the future, for sure.”

Behind-the-scenes help came in the form of LCC Media Services, which handled the camera work and post-production edits.

Utilizing four or five students on the production side, they gain valuable hands-on experience with cameras, floor direction, setting up and striking sets.

Matt McCulloch, Grand River Studio Sessions director, spoke about their role in this audio-visual project.

“The visual side is what we do,” he said. “That’s my role, making sure it looks good.”

It is a look that, although students are helping film, editing, adding graphics and animations, resembles that of a professional product.

“We want it to look like a professional show. We don’t want it to look like something you’d see on a public access or a college student show,” McCulloch said.

Given the musical nature of the series, the sound is also important, something McCulloch credited to sound engineer and LCC professor Brock Elsesser.

The second season premiered with Grand Rapids folk pop group Bennett on Friday, May 1 on Comcast channel 15/31 and with a re-air date of Wednesday, May 6.

Season one of The Grand River Studio Sessions can be seen in its entirety (15 episodes) on YouTube.

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