Titan TV makes history by winning Tom Butler Award

Morgan Van Lanen

The 2016 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tom Butler Award went to a student-run television station for the first time, Titan TV at UW Oshkosh.

Since 1998, the prestigious honor has gone to the best media organization coverage of WIAC athletic events. The award can go to any media organization, but this year the WIAC recognized Titan TV as the best WIAC coverage in the state of Wisconsin.

The award is named after former Sports Information Director Tom Butler, who served the WIAC from 1967-1996.

Titan TV covered Titan athletics ranging from football, men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer. The station runs a full broadcast with the same basic principles that an ESPN or Fox Sports broadcast would have.

The games were available on local channel 57 and were also streamed online. Former graduate Ross Kohlhase served as sports director and graduates Cody Krupp and Tyler Stricker provided in-game commentary with Sean Becher as the producer. The Titan TV staff was led by station manager Adam Steinbach.

Through their dedication, the student organization was able to provide quality material to several community members who rely on coverage for UWO athletics.

Stricker is currently serving as the weekend sports anchor/reporter at KIEM-TV in Eureka, Calif. He emphasized the importance of hard work to making a broadcast possible.

“I think the award goes to show how dedicated Titan TV is to the athletics at UWO and the quality of each broadcast,” Stricker said. “The students who work on the broadcasts put in the time on weeknights and weekends to further develop their skills to put out quality content.”

UWO radio-TV-film director of television services, Justine Stokes, said it’s the students’ ability to work and handle pressure that makes a production work.

“It’s proof of the process, student media is built on the idea that we run as professionally as possible,” Stokes said. “We don’t use the fact that we are a student organization as a crutch, it’s a laboratory, you are asked to provide coverage that no one else is covering.”

Stokes also talked about what makes a broadcast run as smooth as possible.

“It’s long hours and it takes a lot of people, and the people watching don’t get that concept,” Stokes said. “If you do it well the people watching won’t know what went into making that production possible.”

The station’s coverage of UWO’s quarterfinal football game received over 10,000 viewers to put in perspective the demand for athletic coverage. However, Titan TV isn’t just providing a product to the community, it is preparing students for the professional media industry.

“We are an industry-focused program where you need your classes and your studies,” Stokes said. “You need to know the why and the how and then you need to apply it.”

Steinbach said the organization gave him the necessary tools to make a successful career as a producer.

“I believe that Titan TV shaped my college career and prepared me for work after graduation,” Steinbach said. “I was able to learn the fundamentals of television production while working with my friends to produce award-winning content. UWO is home to an outstanding RTF program and this award is a testament to that.”

Titan TV recently upgraded their entire studio to run in high definition, which is now the universal standard in studio television. Students are able to participate in a real-world simulation of what the television industry will be like in their future careers.

Krupp is the weekend sports anchor at WESQ-TV in Palm Springs, Calif. Neil Hebert is another former graduate working at WEAU-TV in Eau Claire, Wis.

The WIAC saw Titan TV as a professional media organization. This recognition has gone to people and organizations such as Jack Copeland from the NCAA in 2015 and D3sports.com in 2014.

However, in 2016 a group of students with many dreams and passions to pursue careers in media, won the award including first place in their football coverage of UW Oshkosh vs. UW-Whitewater by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association.

The RTF program’s radio station WRST, 90.3 FM, also took home this award in 2008. That is two student organizations from the university in the past decade.

Tyler Stricker said his job performance today was in large part due to Titan TV’s opportunities.

“It gave me the responsibility of producing quality content every time we went out to air,” Stricker said. “I use these same skills at my job today. I can’t thank Titan TV enough for opportunities given to me and the shaping it has done to get me where I am today.”