WayCAM Production Manager Marks a Decade of Service

Upon completion of ten years of service to Wayland’s Community Access studio, WayCAM, Production Manager Mark Foreman reflected recently on the path his career has taken. From his early days learning new equipment to the recent challenges of keeping the studio operational during a pandemic shutdown, Foreman has embraced the pace of community television.

Shortly after he graduated from UMASS-Amherst a decade ago with a Communications degree, Foreman began interviewing for TV production positions. WayCAM’s Executive Director Jim Mullane had been Foreman’s TV Production teacher when he was a Wayland High School student. “I remember talking to Mark on the phone, giving him some advice on his job search and his resume,” recalls Mullane. “A few days later, I found out that a position had opened up at WayCAM. I immediately called Mark in for the interview, and the rest is history.”

Mullane brought him on staff as a full-time production coordinator, confident the hire would be a successful one. “I knew Mark’s work ethic, creative and technical skills, and ability to multitask would make him a good fit for a busy studio.”

Foreman’s technical skills enabled him to learn how to use unfamiliar equipment quickly. “Just from the time I left college to my first weeks at WayCAM, I was already seeing new cameras, production switchers, and other equipment. I had to be skilled enough to teach our volunteers on studio and field crews and in our TV Production classes,” he remembers.

Within a short time, Mullane and WayCAM’s Board of Directors recognized Foreman’s project management capabilities and promoted him to Production Manager. Today his daily responsibilities are multifaceted as he works closely with community volunteers, Mullane, and a studio production assistant. “I make sure we are prepared to record and/or broadcast community events. I need to support our studio production assistant and be certain he has everything he needs ahead of a shoot or broadcast.”

As production manager, Foreman handles the playback schedule for WayCAM’s three channels so live events are scheduled and running smoothly. He also posts recordings of government meetings to the Video-on-Demand online platform promptly. Another primary responsibility is maintaining WayCAM’s website (www.waycam.tv) and assisting the production assistant with social media work. Along with those daily tasks, if there are any equipment problems, he troubleshoots the issues.

Afternoons and evenings tend to be the busiest times at the studio located on the Wayland High School campus. When asked what skills he relies on to keep everything on schedule, Foreman says, “Being organized and adjusting to things on the fly are two of the most important skills I use.” Things are constantly changing, meeting rooms are sometimes moved at the last minute, and requests for video coverage come in with little turnaround time. One production is often running, while another needs to be set up.

In March 2020, the pandemic-forced shutdown led to a major change in how WayCAM provided coverage of local government meetings. Residents seeking information about school and town issues turned to WayCAM’s broadcasts and online viewings of meetings in greater numbers than ever before.

With the studio shut down, WayCAM’s staff was forced to work from home. “Handling the day-to-day studio operations from my bedroom was a challenge, but fortunately one I was able to handle,” recalls Foreman. “The second change was the demand for access to programming. Sports like basketball and volleyball were held with no fans allowed, which increased the demand for streaming both for Wayland residents and the families of the opposing teams.

“Similarly, with no in-person attendance at government meetings, paired with meetings held via Zoom, the number of programs we were broadcasting increased drastically, sometimes broadcasting as many as 13 meetings a week. This forced us to get creative with how our studios at the Town Building were used to ensure we were able to broadcast meetings to the public.”

Along with meeting the pandemic’s challenges, the studio staff understands that the public relies on WayCAM to document events under the Public, Educational, and Government umbrella.

“We’ve taken steps to make sure our studio is as future-proof as realistically possible, while still keeping things at a level that anyone looking to get involved will be able to understand,” Foreman explains, continuing, “The landscape is always changing with regards to what the studio is expected or requested to do, so I feel confident that we’ve set ourselves up for success to face those changes.”

As far as challenges that keep days at the studio exciting, Foreman points to the constant advances in equipment. “Because we continue to see progressions, I am constantly learning how to use new equipment so we’ll be ready to offer it to others.”

Looking back at his decade in the studio, Foreman says it’s the technological advances that keep him learning. “Keeping up with the technological advances is necessary and rewarding. This is the only way we’ll continue to offer the community different opportunities with the newest production equipment. Definitely, it’s a favorite part of my experience here.”



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