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Sarah Stanfield

Thom Foote, who teaches television production to high school students at the Fairbanks North Star Borough (FNSB) school district in Fairbanks, AK, is looking for a few good cameras. He could also use batteries, post-production software, and just about any other piece of equipment related to television production. To that end, he's putting out a call to manufacturers, TV stations, production, and post-production houses to donate their used equipment to his program.

Foote launched the program about three years ago. "I started this program intending to make it a full-blown vocational tech program," he said. "My secondary goal was to supply employees to local stations; to give job opportunities to local teens."

So far, those goals have been accomplished: Many of Foote's students have been hired on part-time at local Fairbanks stations.

Despite this success, Foote says he desperately needs more equipment, especially editing software and batteries, for his current program. He receives about $2,500 per year from the school district, and brings in about $600 per year with corporate sponsorships. He also pays about $300 a year out of his own pocket for extra tapes and batteries.

Having such a tight budget has forced Foote to find some creative ways to obtain equipment. For example, whenever he reads about a production house or station that is upgrading to new equipment, he calls to find out if he can have the old equipment. He has had some luck with this approach: Tektronix recently gave him a reconditioned vectorscope/ waveform worth about $5,000.

If you or your company would like to donate cameras, editing software, batteries, or other types of television production equipment to Foote''s program, please e-mail him at

If you would rather donate to a similar program in your own community, Foote says that's OK, too. For him, the most important thing is to support efforts to train future broadcast engineers, reporters, and videographers.