Behind the scenes of NPTV

The talented crew of “Mornings” works meticulously to tell the stories of North Penn every Friday.


Jurni Jackson

The crew of “Mornings” during a live broadcast of their show.

TOWAMENCIN – Only two things at North Penn have the power to stop the entire school: emergency drills and “Mornings.”

This sentiment is held by North Penn High School’s Communication Media Coordinator Bob Gillmer. His time at North Penn has shown him that the high school, with a population of well over 3,000 people, isn’t able to to hold assemblies, concerts, pep rallies, or even a lunch period where every North Penn Knight can be together at the same time. And while every person in the high school does participate in fire drills, fire drills don’t unify and bring about Knight pride like “Mornings”.

Every Friday, all students and staff of North Penn High School tune in to another edition of the high school’s own morning show, “Mornings.” All of the high school sees the show for approximately thirteen minutes, but the hard work and time leading up to the show is easily overlooked and unaccounted for since it isn’t displayed on the projectors and SmartBoards. The making of “Mornings” is not simply staying after school Thursday, or coming in on Friday morning and throwing together thirteen minutes of North Penn content.

“That’s the one thing in television a lot of people don’t realize, whether you’re watching a local newscast, or watching entertainment, or a sitcom, or something like that, how much work behind the scenes takes place before you get to the show. There are hours upon hours [of] getting ready for the show,” Gillmer explained.

Jurni Jackson
The crew of “Mornings” poses for a photograph inside North Penn’s TV studio.

The crew puts their energy into each segment so that the show is as lively as possible. It can be a challenge to present the same format each week and keep the audience excited and engaged, but each week the crew rises to the occasion.

“We know we’ll probably have an interview. We’ll have a lead story. We’ll do a Brumbaugh Challenge. . .it’s the challenge of figuring out how to keep it a little bit dynamic so it does change. . . Those thirteen minutes are the easiest thirteen minutes of the week. . . because all the work is already done.” explained Gillmer.

The making of “Mornings” is a week-long production. The show covers everything that has happened during the last week at North Penn High School.

“We’re constantly working on the show whether it’s for this Friday or upcoming shows; every day of the week we’re working on the show to be ready for it,” Gillmer said.

The production of “Mornings” is essentially done by five career study students and a handful of other crew members. These students put so much of their time into North Penn Television, which allows “Mornings” to happen each week.

One of these hard working crew members is senior Sam Santangelo. He writes stories, edits, films, does voiceover work, and makes packages for the morning show.

Everyday, he (along with the rest of the production crew) spends time during and after school to get ready for the show. Then, on the Thursday before the show, the crew doesn’t leave until the show is ready.

“So usually Monday and Tuesday we kind of just work on ideas [and] figure out what will be in the rundown. Wednesday we start really hunkering down; working on it, writing stories, editing videos, editing packages, filming the question of the week, Brumbaugh, The Why, [and] Knight Crier Update. . .Wednesday we’re usually here maybe until three or four, it’s not that long and then on Thursday we’re here until the morning show is finished… And then we come in bright and early at six o’clock on a Friday,” explained Santangelo.

They don’t come at six just so they can beat the parking lot traffic – their commitment to producing “Mornings” means they’re maximizing their time until to the last second before the On Air sign glows to guarantee their best work.

Jurni Jackson
Sam Santangelo edits a package – video accompanied by a voiceover.

“[We’re] getting ready, making sure all the videos are in the right order, making sure the graphics are right, double checking the script, making sure the camera placements are right – how it’s marked up in our rundown, finishing the story that might’ve happened the night before. You know we have a lot of things that happen on a Thursday night that we need to edit Friday morning to make sure it makes the show at 7:21,” Gillmer emphasized.

The week starts with creating the rundown, a sort of ‘roadmap’ for the production. The rundown houses all the preparations for the show. Within each rundown, the crew must attach the stories, assign a camera and anchor to each, and ensure that there won’t be any conflicts between stories.

“We’ll add things as they go along, but we don’t actually order anything until Thursday when we know everything that’s in there. So we put in our lead stories and we order the show from there,” said Dominic Rodriguez, another dedicated member of NPTV. Along with the rest of the core production crew, Rodriguez spends anywhere from twenty-five to thirty hours each week dedicated to NPTV.

This meticulous planning goes into every single part of the show, whether it’s editing the Question of the Week precisely to ensure no “dead air” remains or simply by going out to cover every story.

When put into perspective, “Mornings” is a very small blip of all the things the crew does.

“That’s one thing I don’t think people in this building realize. . . all of the students see Mornings so they know we do it, [but] I don’t know that all students realize how much the crew is out covering events. Now they may see their own sport that they’re in or a concert . . . but they also don’t realize we’re not only there that night, but we’re there the next night and the following night for other activities all throughout the week. . . we usually have an event Friday night, whether it’s a sporting event or a concert or the talent show. . . so Fridays are actually tough days for the crew just because we know most Fridays we’re at least doing 12 – 15 hour days on television production,” said Gillmer.

Jurni Jackson
Paul Callender runs the soundboard for “Mornings.”

He added, “If you watch the show and you really think about it, we’re really not announcing when club meetings are. We’re not announcing what lunch is. We’re not announcing the types of things you hear on the intercom, right? What we’re trying to do is tell the story of North Penn High School in 13 minutes.”

“Mornings” is not a simple show to create. The hard working crew behind it puts in so much of their time and effort everyday to make it happen for the entire population of North Penn High School, on top of every other high school event they cover for NPTV. And their work pays off – “Mornings” brings North Penn High School together to acknowledge, entertain and honor all Knights every Friday morning.