“It’s a niche that I found that I wasn’t expecting to enjoy so much,” says Messiah COMMunity alum Curtis Seaman ‘19. Seaman works as the Technical Director at WGAL 8 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
When he first began at Messiah as a journalism major, Seaman wanted to write for sports but eventually realized that TV provided a better pace and environment for him. Since then, he hasn’t looked back.
His duties as director include ensuring that the final packages, graphics, and anchors seen on the screen go on air at the correct time. He tells the camera people and audio technicians what to do and what comes next in the show. He also communicates with the producers and makes any changes they request.
Despite Lancaster being its main audience, WGAL 8 remains a far-reaching network as an NBC affiliate, landing stories on The Today Show and other major networks. “Even though our station has a smaller market in Lancaster, we still do and have done some big things,” Seaman says.
Seaman’s progression into the professional world began with an internship at WGAL 8 his senior year at Messiah. This led to a part-time job there as an Operations Technician the next semester. These two experiences helped ease him into full-time work. He only began directing full time when the pandemic hit, which led to some challenges. “With there being less crew and less staff at the station, we simplified the shows a lot, so they were pretty basic compared to what they normally would be,” Seaman explains. As the station programming slowly returns to normal, he started learning how to direct more complicated shows.
According to Seaman, communication among departments could use improvement, especially now that the pandemic added an extra layer of difficulty. He notes that “with everyone being apart, you don’t see them face to face so you have to make an effort to call them or text them to figure out whatever issue you’re having.”
Despite these occasional challenges, he felt well-prepared for his position through his Messiah classes and on-campus extracurriculars. He gained invaluable hands-on experience with his work at MC-77 (now YBTV), Messiah’s TV station. His involvement with the station set him up well to eventually direct at WGAL 8.
Still early in his career, Seaman has big plans for the future. He recently interviewed for a full-time directing position at the same network. “I would like to continue directing; I have a good time with it and it’s a lot of fun,” Seaman says. His passion for sports has not dimmed, and he hopes to work as a technical director at a sports-related station one day.
Despite his current success and exciting plans, Seaman can’t help but reflect on his college days: “I miss Messiah, I can’t say that enough. Even though it’s different right now with the pandemic, it’s still an awesome place.”
– April Hooper ’22