RTN telethon raises $2,000 for Special Olympics New Jersey

RTN telethon raises $2,000 for Special Olympics New Jersey

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The 2016 Rowan Television Network (RTN) telethon was special in many ways – from the countless hours of roughly 50 students in the planning, researching, promoting and conducting of the program to the beneficiary of this year’s broadcast – Special Olympics New Jersey (SONJ).

The five-hour program, which was broadcast from Bozorth Hall online, over the air, and on community access television from 6 to 11 p.m. April 13, featured live music by five bands and individuals, pre-recorded segments by five other groups, interviews, videos and much more.

Sitting in the “green room” during the broadcast – a gray classroom, actually, where desktops were set with pizza, snacks and soft drinks – students, interviewees and performers relaxed until their time to appear on camera.

Viewing a large screen just after six, senior Samantha Barrett, a radio, television & film (RTF) and journalism double major, said students and their advisors prepared for every conceivable glitch but knew, even if one happened, that the show would go on.

“Part of the experience is learning what you can expect during a live show,” said Barrett, a veteran in her fourth year with the broadcast. “You just have to work through it and keep going.”

Senior RTF major Jocelyn Brown said students started planning the 9th annual event in November. An executive committee chose several potential beneficiaries for the telethon and RTN members voted to select SONJ as their telethon partner.

“I love being involved with a production,” said Brown, one of about seven associate producers on the broadcast. “Live productions are hectic but they’re super fun.”

For Dino Arhontoulis, a junior RTF major with a minor in journalism, the event helped provide experience in front of the camera.

Scheduled to interview a mother and son who participate in SONJ activities, Arhontoulis said the more experience he gathers in front of the camera the closer he becomes to launching a career in TV news or sports.

“To be able to do what you love and help other people at the same time is a really great thing,” he said.

Co-executive Producer Morgan Litzas, a senior RTF/public relations double major, said up to 300 viewers were watching the telecast at any given time.

Her third year involved with the program, Litzas advised students who run the telethon in the years to come to work very hard, to air the best program they can, and to have fun with it.

“Once the day gets here you’re so busy that you don’t watch it,” said Litzas, who will pursue a career in TV or film production. “I didn’t see any of the telethon but I had a great time producing it.”