“Spill your guts out,” Peter McCorkle says to a group of 30 students who are clutching scripts in their hands. McCorkle is director of the Patricia Henley Foundation’s Santa Barbara Teen News Network, which is preparing to launch its second season.

“This is a newscast,” he says. “It’s your job to find out what’s happening in your school, what movies are out, what’s going on with your track team.”

sbTNN’s second season is scheduled to debut on Monday, November 1, at 9:30 p.m. on Santa Barbara Channels 17/21 on station 21.

Saturdays mornings are spent pitching stories, writing, recording, reporting, and dancing for the 30-minute weekly shows. sbTNN hosts quite the diverse line up, ranging from arts and entertainment reviews to cooking segments, comedic spoofs, sports, and community service.

From its carefully written to its multimedia content (students are lent Flip video cameras to cover events, such as concerts at the Santa Barbara Bowl), sbTNN is a production solely by the teens, but for the community at large—though many of the issues it covers are of particular interest to Santa Barbara teens. According to McCorkle, this melee of veteran and rookie teen broadcasters has been training since May 2010. With the help of McCorkle; Doug Caines, technical director for sbTNN; and Trixie Geyer, students have plenty to learn in basic cinematography, interviewing, and working with editing software or sound equipment.

sbTNN allows for students in our fast-paced, media-driven society to find their niche, have fun, and be creative. Mia Chavez, an eighth grader from Marymount of Santa Barbara, says that working with sbTNN is good training because when she grows up, she wants to be on television.

As an example of the kind of scramble and improvisation the teens are expected to undertake, two days before the scheduled debut of the second season, McCorkle revealed that sbTNN will do a phone interview with Cheryl Sington, who performed by Michael Jackson’s side in the music video for “Thriller.”

Aaron Linker, a Santa Barbara Junior High eighth grader, is no stranger to working on set and performing, and often auditions in Los Angeles. In his first season with sbTNN, Linker already has his own repertoire planned out for the remainder of the season. “I want to make comedy shorts, review restaurants and books,” says Linker, who also does stand-up at the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara.

Ashley Almada, a Dos Pueblos High School freshman, enjoys her role as field reporter and dancer for the broadcast, but mainly appreciates the connections she makes.

“It’s a good program,” Almada says. “It helps kids figure out what they want to do when they get older, helps them meet people, and new friends, and really get involved in the town.”

sbTNN spokespeople said they would like to thank the Santa Barbara Bowl Education Foundation and Nederlander Concerts for providing tickets, photo passes, and access to provide coverage of local events. The most recent concert covered by sbTNN was Stone Temple Pilots.


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