What do the madcap prince of morning radio Skeery Jones (aka the NaNa Guy), the balletic mating dance of Papua New Guinea’s bird of paradise and Khamranie Bhagroo’s first trip to the opera have in common? The City University of New York, of course, and anyone interested in learning more about these wide-ranging subjects may do so at 8 a.m. or 8 p.m. on Sunday, December 16 on CUNY-TV Channel 75—and every Sunday after that.
These are among the segments that will be presented on the debut edition of “Study with the Best,” a vigorously-paced high-concept video magazine. It is designed to bring the accomplishments of CUNY students and faculty, the University’s broad array of career opportunities, and activities on its 20 campuses to the metropolitan-area television audience. New editions of “Study with the Best,” a 13-week series, will be aired on subsequent Sundays. Channel 25 will also air “Study with the Best” in the metropolitan area on Saturdays at 3:00 p.m., beginning December 22.
Using eye-popping cross-cuts, funky camera angles, chart-topping music tracks and zingy animated graphics, Senior Producer and writer Linda Prout and her on-air student co-hosts Tomiko Karino and Zyphus Lebrun (all from City College’s journalism program and media and communication arts department) have jam-packed their 26 minutes of air-time with a borough-hopping itinerary. The program was developed under the guidance of CUNY-TV Executive Director Robert Isaacson.
This is the first television series devoted to opportunities for higher education. CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein said in introducing the show, “If you are thinking about college and your career and wondering what to expect, this show is for you.”
The December 16 program includes Joe Brown, the manager of WHCR-FM, CCNY/Harlem Community Radio giving CCNY communications students their introduction to the “management and talent side of radio—and the technical side.” At the new home of the Staten Island Yankees, College of Staten Island graduate Michael Cappello is sports broadcaster for station WSIA-FM, a job he started as a student. Skeery Jones, who since graduating from Brooklyn College, has won fame among morning persons as the NaNa Guy on top-ranked Z100, praises CUNY for helping him “stick with the passion” as a campus radio personality.
Also featured is Lehman College Professor and computer art whiz David Gillison, whose career started as a photographer and student of the culture in Papua New Guinea, where he attempted to capture the mating dance of the bird of paradise. On the advice of a colleague at National Geographic he refined the work through computer animation. This led to a hot new course at Lehman College—the Art and Mathematics Project—that teaches film animation and three-dimensional modeling.
Another segment introduces two members of the first class of the CUNY Honors College. Justin Gogel, who is interested in international relations, chose Hunter College over George Washington University in D.C. because of his sense of a “rebirth” at CUNY. Khamranie Bhagroo, a pre-med student at Queens College, loved her first visit to the Metropolitan Opera through the Honors College “cultural passport.”
Wrapping up the debut edition is a visit to the second annual CUNY Jazz Festival at City College with famed bassist and Distinguished Professor Ron Carter on hand to observe, “When you attend CUNY all of New York City is your campus.”
Some 40,000 copies of the first show in video format are being sent this month to seniors in the New York City public and private high schools and nearby suburban high schools. College counselors, principals, school and public libraries and parent organizations are among those who will also receive copies.
Future episodes will include a profile of Bronx Community College student and parent Patricia Fraticelli, a charismatic speaker at three CUNY Information Fairs, and her budding public service career; features on prominent CUNY faculty such as U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins, Academy Award and Pulitzer Prize winner John Corigliano of Lehman College, and prominent novelist Elizabeth Nunez of Medgar Evers College. Other features will include those on a forensics expert at John Jay College of Criminal Justice who has been assisting in World Trade Center search and identification efforts, the stock trading floor at Baruch College, and a profile of Hostos Community College “twofer” alumna Maria Arroyo Aguirre.