"I get to watch TV eight hours a day," says Josh Stout, a 2015 graduate of the NNPS Telecommunications program.
As a Digital Control Technician for WTKR in Norfolk, Stout does indeed watch a lot of TV, but don't think that he is kicked back and relaxing. He is actually putting the skills he learned at Telecom to good use, monitoring and controlling the switching for two out-of-state television stations: KFOR in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and WHO in Des Moines, Iowa.
Stout works in the "DOC," the Digital Operating Center, where there is a large wall of monitors and each employee's desk has about five computer screens. The monitors show what is going "over air" on the various stations, and the technicians control the systems and make changes to playlists from their workstations. Each technician monitors a couple of TV stations, "rolling" local breaks during national broadcasts, making sure shows are timed correctly and start on time, and making changes or corrections at the request of the stations.
Stout, who graduated from Menchville High School, got the job after Telecom Supervisor Ray Price recommended him for it. WTKR's Assistant Operations Manager, Darrick White, himself a Telecom grad, contacted Price to see if he had a graduate who would be good for the job.
"They hold Telecom in high regard," said Stout, "so they ask [there] first."
Stout started in February and had two months of extensive training. A main part of his job is switching the on-air signal from network to studio and back - on cue - for local weather, news, and commercial breaks during the "Today Show" (he monitors two NBC affiliates) and other national broadcasts.
He has learned a little about the Midwest from watching their news and advertising.
"We have military; they have agriculture," Stout says, referring to the many agriculture-related business reports that are part of the local newscast in Iowa. "Lots of agri-business reports and the Hog Markets," he says.
One of Stout's greatest interests - one not likely to be superseded by pig-farming - has always been music. While at Telecom, he produced a music show called, "Behind the Sound," which featured Truss, a local band with members from Newport News and York County. Stout is currently working with Price and some fellow Telecom graduates on another music show for NNPS-TV.
At the DOC, Stout is the youngest by quite a bit, but he says it's a nice environment and that he learns something new every day.
Stout completed both TV Production I and II at the NNPS Telecommunications Center, and is one of countless graduates currently working in the industry.