National Television Industry Leaders Connect With Kent State Students

This summer, Kent State students will be powering the backstage stream of the Regional Emmy Awards, serving as directors, technical directors, audio board operators, video editors, photographer, on-air talent and more. To kick off this collaboration, Adam Sharp, President and CEO of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS), and Terry O'Reilly, Chairman, spoke to Kent State students on March 14. NATAS produces the national Emmy Awards Broadcast for Daytime Television and other Emmy events.

Together, Sharp and O'Reilly have more than 75 years of experience in the television industry and shared their perspective with students. Sharp said he started out with no idea that he wanted to be in the industry. In high school, he saw an Emmy Award at the top of a scholarship page and liked the design so he applied. He became one of NATAS’ first scholarship winners. 

“We still have a robust national scholarship program,” Sharp said. “(They’re) awarded to rising high school seniors getting ready to go to college at the national level, $90,000 worth of scholarships a year, across several different programs.” 

O’Reilly and Sharp went further into detail about the founding, merging and separation of NATAS into its own organization, as well as the history of the Emmy Award and how it’s made. 

Kent State alumnus Braylon Lee stood up during the lecture and pitched an idea of his own: a content creator segment of the Emmy Awards, to differ from YouTube’s Streamy Awards

“I’m not just pitching this as the executive producer of this thing,” Lee said. “I actually want to host a show. I think it’s about time young people had a shot to be on camera."

Read a KentWired article about the speakers

The event ended with Bob Hammer, NATAS Central Great Lakes Chapter executive director, telling students how they can participate in the Regional Emmy Awards on June 17.  

“There’ll be an opportunity during that for the Kent State students to produce the backstage show … for people coming off that have just won an Emmy,” Hammer said. “The students will have an opportunity to produce that show live on our Facebook page while the gala continues … It’s a room full of people who can give you a job.” 

Adjunct Instructor Sam Angello, who teaches Multimedia Engineering and Production Fundamentals in the School of Media and Journalism, has been involved in producing the Regional Emmy Awards for years and is coordinating this opportunity. Interested students should apply by April 1. With questions, contact Angello at

POSTED: Friday, March 17, 2023 02:30 PM
Updated: Friday, March 17, 2023 03:43 PM
Kaitlyn Finchler, '23