RTV had humble beginnings. A club of around 12 students created the weekly program using an old camera that had been discovered in a high school storage closet. The program's first and main anchors were then-freshmen, Jennifer Harder and Jennifer Pierce.
By the end of the 1994-1995 school year, some teachers and administrators were impressed enough with the production that the district chose to invest tens of thousands of dollars into new equipment for the program. One of the program's biggest champions was the legendary director of Durand's band program, Chuck Birch.
The program's quality improved dramatically with time and thanks to new equipment; digital video cameras, "Super" video cassette recorders, video and audio mixers, lavalier microphones and more.
As the quality improved, so did interest in the program. In the 1997-1998 school year, the original team's senior year, Durand Area Schools made a further investment in the program, by making an RTV class. No longer just a club; students could earn credit for their work with the program.
By that time, there were more than 50 students invested in producing the weekly programs, along with a number of other special videos and presentations for various school groups and events, and as Green, Strickland, Harder, Pierce and the club's other upperclassmen prepared for graduation, the decision was made to have many of that year's programs be produced by underclassmen.
RTV - the class lasted through the year 2003 before being canceled, but numerous former RTV club and class members went on to work in related fields.
Jennifer Pierce (Williamson) and RTV's original Sports Producer, Troy Baker, went on to work in television news. Baker is now an Emmy winner. Josh Daunt, one of the first students to take the RTV class, also went into TV news and is now a multiple Emmy Award winner. Jennifer Harder took her talents to the stage, moving to New York City. William Green now works on a podcast called The Midside.
After 16 years in radio, garnering two MAB awards and an AP award, in 2012, Josh Strickland founded the local news website, Durand Now.
This fall, we're celebrating the 25th anniversary of RTV and our continued dedication to serve up local news and information for Durand residents.
We've dusted off a treasure trove of old RTV episodes, including the very first episode that was broadcast November 23rd 1994.
Watch for old clips and more in the new Facebook group designed to collect, archive and share Durand history: Durand Then