The Blend Offers USA Students a Chance to Shine

The BlendSupport for the South Alabama Annual Fund promotes opportunities to challenge students and faculty to gain real-world, professional experience beyond the classroom. These opportunities prepare them to face challenges in their future.

Several USA students had a novel idea for a local talk show that would blend a traditional talk show format with social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The students hope to increase interaction with viewers.

With the encouragement of faculty members including USA alumnus Jay Hunt, instructor and academic advisor for the College of Arts and Sciences, their idea became a reality! The Blend began airing weekly in January on WJTC-TV 44 with an all-star, all-Jaguar cast.

Viewers of the show will meet students like Michael Brannon, who also serves as the host of entertainment segments for two local TV stations and is the spokesperson for an automobile dealership in Daphne, Alabama.

Viewers of The Blend have the opportunity to spend time with the entire cast and crew of students from JagTV like Darrell Johnston, who has returned to USA to pursue his MA in communications. Darrell said that he is "inspired by the creativity and energy of the cast" and sees this as "a groundbreaking show for USA and for our community."

The goal of the program is to showcase Mobile and other areas nearby, while featuring entertainment news, local and national topics, events, restaurants, and timely issues that are interesting for younger adults.

Hunt serves as the supervising producer of the show and believes very strongly in the benefits of experiential learning. "In today's competitive job market, employers seek graduates who have some practical experience in their field of study. They seek individuals who can work in teams, think on their feet and solve problems," says Hunt. "It is exciting to see our gifted students from different academic disciplines working together to create a show of this high quality. The Blend is their idea, and they are doing all the work."

As an advisor for many clubs and organizations on campus, Hunt is constantly networking. "I am always seeking ways to connect my students with alumni and professionals in our Mobile community," says Hunt. "It is important for us, as a university, to offer the encouragement the students need to step out there!"

The Blend is entertaining even if you don't consider yourself a younger adult. On the Gulf Coast, you can see The Blend on WJTC-TV 44, Saturdays at 6:00 p.m. Everyone else can also check it out on Facebook, Twitter or The Blend's website.