RIT SportsZone celebrates 100th episode milestone

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A. Sue Wiesler

RIT Sportszone anchors Shelby Hill, a first-year journalism major, and John DiTullio share a laugh between segments of the program’s 100th episode.

Skeptics of a plan creating a TV show dedicated to RIT sports can surely be forgiven. But seven years after its debut, there’s no doubting the success of RIT SportsZone, which is preparing to air its 100th episode this weekend.

Each year, about 80 RIT students get first-hand experience into the exciting, and sometimes complicated, reality of professional television production. They are the driving force behind a twice-monthly, half-hour program that showcases the university’s athletic programs and related activities on campus.

Josh Smith, a fourth-year student from Cleveland, started working at RIT SportsZone shortly after he arrived on campus. He currently serves as the program’s executive producer.

“As a film major, you don’t have to do internships or co-ops, so this is sort of been my co-op—my job experience,” explains Smith, “not only for TV but for leadership, management and team work—working with people. Those are the universal skills that come with this experience that I didn’t plan on four years ago.”

Students from a variety of RIT academic programs make up the staff of RIT SportsZone, overseeing every aspect of the program, including talent, video production, graphic design and marketing.

Kevin Roche, RIT SportsZone producer and director, says he’s impressed with the attention to detail students bring to their roles. For those who work regularly on producing features for the program, he emphasizes the importance of mastering good story-telling techniques.

“I stress to them that you don’t have to know every specific rule and detail of a sport or an event,” states Roche. “You ask good, insightful questions and you find a story.”

To celebrate the 100th episode of RIT SportsZone, this week’s program looks back at its founding in 2002. The show also offers a behind-the-scenes look at how each program comes together, a roundup of the show’s best moments over the years, and a look at what some RIT SportsZone alumni are doing today.

Viewers can watch this milestone episode at 6 p.m. Friday, March 13, on the Time Warner Sports Network, channel 26; 8:30 a.m. Saturday, March 14, on ESPN2, channel 25; and throughout the following week on cable access channel 4.