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KPCK is ‘Talk’ of Peacock Nation

Displaying ‘Feathers Up’ for KPCK-TV, the new student-led Upper Iowa University television station, are (l-r) executive producer Dylon Field, anchor/commentator Donnie Kuykendall, faculty adviser Melle Starsen, anchor/commentator Jemina Sörman, tricaster Mitch Eighme.

“Hello Peacock Nation, welcome to the debut episode of Peacock Talk, I’m Donnie Kuykendall.”

“And I’m Jemima Sörman.”

Thanks to the diligent effort, resourcefulness and persistence of Upper Iowa University Associate Professor of Communication Melle Starsen and sports communication major Dylon Field, those words were the first to air on KPCK-TV. As the faculty adviser for the newly developed student-led television production, Starsen couldn’t be happier for current and future KPCK-TV staff members.

“This is another educational opportunity for Upper Iowa students that can benefit them in their future career choices,” said Starsen. “There are so many students who would like to pursue television or electronic media-related careers and KPCK-TV provides a whole other outlet for a variety of broadcasting occupations.”

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KPCK executive producer Dylon Field (standing) discusses a portion of the Peacock Talk script with anchors Donnie Kuykendall and Jemina Sörman.

Noting the launch of KPCK internet radio a year earlier, the UIU professor explained the creation of the television station has been an interest of hers for over a decade. She credits Field, who serves as the station’s executive producer, for submitting the proposal this past spring that gained the full support of UIU President William R. Duffy, School of Liberal Arts Dean Dr. Edward Huffstetler and former provost, Dr. Kurt Wood.

“The proposal was approved in early April and it just seemed to steamroll from there,” said Starsen. “The athletic and communications studies departments partnered on the first day of fall classes, which is already proving beneficial. Communication studies helped with some budgetary funding, while the athletic department provided various technological equipment and support.”

“After getting the first couple episodes of Peacock Talk produced our immediate goal is to continue increasing student participation,” said Field, a UIU junior from Noblesville, Indiana. “Based on the reaction of our first two shows, I am confident the support and participation will only continue to grow.”

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KPCK-TV executive producer Dylon Field (right) reviews a sequence from the first taping of Peacock Talk with KPCK staff member Dane Gillespie.

Currently joining Field on the KPCK-TV staff are anchors Donnie Kuykendall, a senior from Illinois, and Jemina Sörman, a junior from Bankeryd, Sweden; tricaster Mitch Eighme, a junior from Waterloo, Iowa; technical aide Jim Lowery, UIU athletics video producer, and staff member Dane Gillespie, a sophomore from Fountain, Minnesota.

“We are making history and I’m excited to be a part of it,” said Kuykendall, who is also a KPCK radio staff member. “It has certainly been an ongoing educational experience. I have to admit I haven’t established a relationship in front of the camera yet, but I have learned the importance of being yourself and letting things around you play out.”

“Props to Dylon for putting forth the initiative to help Ms. Starsen get this going,” said Eighme. “This is certainly a good thing for students who have a genuine interest in broadcasting as a professional career. I really foresee this studio becoming a place where students can get their start.”

Future goals for KPCK are to air Peacock Talk regularly every two weeks, produce a short film, and provide comedic and live entertainment.

“I believe the students are right on target, if not ahead of their plans,” said Starsen. “They each possess a commitment and passion for a project that I haven’t witnessed in a long time. When they taped the first Peacock Talk, I cried at one point. I am so proud of them.”

Although the current KPCK-TV crew are each majoring in communication studies, KPCK is open to all UIU students who would like to participate. KPCK-TV programming can be viewed on YouTube by clicking here. Current and future UIU students may contact Starsen at STARSENM@uiu.edu for additional information.

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