Ever since “The Star” was nice enough to name me as one of its “20 to Watch” for this year, I’ve felt a tinge of anxiety. After all, 2019 was so busy at the Sun Prairie Media Center, how will 2020 ever compete?
Let’s take a brief look back on some of our highlights from the last year of the decade:
January: After a request from the mayor and city administrator, the SPMC greatly increased the number of city meetings that it broadcast live. After adding nearly every board and commission meeting to our schedule, our meeting coverage expanded by 123 percent, keeping us busy all year and giving Sun Prairie residents a more complete and transparent look at its government in action.
February: KIDS-4 and 103.5 FM The Sun were on hand to broadcast the annual Groundhog Day prognostication. Jimmy did not see his shadow while due to the cold no one on site could feel their extremities.
March: The SPMC is there to follow the Sun Prairie boys’ and girls’ basketball teams as they advance through the WIAA basketball tournaments with the boys making it all the way to the championship final. Also, the SPMC broadcasts a live school board forum sponsored by SPARC and moderated by yours truly.
April: A huge development as new LED studio lights are installed in both TV studios at the SPMC. This quickly results in better-looking broadcasts, a safer work environment, as lights almost never need to be changed (haven’t changed one yet), and an approximate 80 percent in energy savings. Also in April, Dan Presser and I begin conducting interviews for a documentary on the July 10 gas explosion that we hope to release this summer. Also this month the Caucus Room at City Hall is outfitted with cameras and microphones to allow for more efficient broadcasts of meetings happening in that room. And our friends at “Reel Reviews” celebrate their show’s five-year anniversary by producing their first-ever on-location shoot at the Palace Cinema.
May: SPMC programming wins 13 awards at the Wisconsin Community Media’s Media Fest. More significantly, 103.5 FM The Sun Community Radio Production Manager Lisa Wolf resigns after seven years of service to the city. Interviews are held to find her replacement.
June: The SPMC is there with live coverage as the Sun Prairie boys’ baseball team and girls’ softball team advance to the championship game in their respective state tournaments. The SPMC is also there to broadcast the SPHS graduation ceremony live. Meanwhile, Colin Lessig is hired as the new production manager for the radio station and another successful season of KIDS-4 summer workshops is launched.
August: Another season of football coverage kicks off. As a homage to the glory days of “Monday Night Football,” many games feature three announcers: Mike Powers, Jamison Rabbitt, and Bill Baker. The SPMC follows the team the entire season through to the tournament round of eight.
September: The Media Center deals with the fallout from a change in the state budget that alters how video service providers can charge municipalities, a change that has a direct result on the Media Center’s budget. On a brighter note, an agreement with the website Channel 3000 is reached that results in Channel 3000 users having access to the live feeds of KSUN and 103.5 FM The Sun Community Radio. Also another successful year of KIDS-4 launches, along with the new TV programs “Bienvenido Wisconsin” and “Books and Cooks.” Also “Spine Chilling Cinema” celebrates the taping of its 50th episode.
October: The Parents of KIDS-4 group holds its most successful “Culver’s Share Night” yet, we launch the use of a new digital signage system (that stuff you see on KSUN and KIDS-4 in-between programming), the SPMC receives a very generous donation from the Sun Prairie Improvement Council, and “Inside Your City with Aaron and Chris” tapes its 125th episode.
November: The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association issues 103.5 FM The Sun Community Radio its “certificate of compliance,” KIDS-4 expands to the city’s Sankofa school for the gifted and talented, SPMC attends the Dane County Youth Consortium’s career expo “FutureQuest” for the first time, and the SPMC holds its 2019 member appreciation party at Prairie Lanes during which over 50 member producers and their families enjoy awards, pizza, and bowling.
December: Bids close on the construction of the new 103.5 FM radio studio, a project that now moves forward to be approved by the Public Works Committee in January. But most importantly, the end of the year results in the release of a new free all-inclusive app that includes KSUN, KIDS-4, and 103.5 FM The Sun Community Radio live streams and on-demand programming. Download it today for free from the App Store or Google Play!
Mucho thanks to the great staff at the SPMC: Rachel, Mara, Colin, Alex, Marc, Jake, Isaiah, Logan, and Eva. It couldn’t be done without the tremendous efforts of all of you. Also thanks to our business partners, including Bank of Sun Prairie, Wilde East Towne Honda, Day One Pizza, Monk’s, Skalitzky Jewelers, Woodman’s, Edward Jones, Culver’s of Sun Prairie, West Prairie Dental, Local Source Foods, Concrete Lifting Technologies, and Hebl and Hebl Attorneys at Law.
We continue to be honored and humbled to serve the great city of Sun Prairie and the people who live, work, and play here. If you would like to join us, either by producing programming, making a tax-deductible donation, or volunteering in other ways, please call us at 608-837-4193, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop on by to see us at 1350 Linnerud Drive.
Thanks again and don’t forget to watch us – not just me, please! — in 2020!