Conducting an interview during the2008 Shrine Bowl.
Porta shooting footage.
The BEK Sports van (Portra 2nd from right).
Portra (right) scaled a 200 ft. wind tower with a camera duct taped to her hard helmet.
Remote set up at a high school boys basketball game.
By: Glendon Gengel
She can point, shoot and get the perfect shot nearly every time, with a camera that is. Most people might not consider creativity, production, and networking skills as super powers but Studio One
Alumni Ashley Portra has shown they can be.
Portra left her impression of “word-smithing,” enthusiasm and versatility on the Studio One
staff during her four semesters with the project. “She loved Studio One
and wanted everyone around her to love the program as much as she did,” says Production Manager Scott Lima. “Ashley put in the time to produce quality products,” explains Barry Brode. “All with a sense of humor of course,” Brode adds.
Portra says she gained hands-on experience in reporting, production and anchoring as well as made valuable connections while working with the program. For some students, an internship can lead to a job after graduation. In this case, an employer ended up meeting her before commencement. Jordan Hasseler from BEK Sports
came to a show and talked about on opening on their team. “That was the semester I was sports anchor,” explains Ashley, “after the show we [the Studio One
cast] were standing in the atrium waiting for the audience to come out and Monte was telling me about the position. He asked me if I was interested because it was a good opportunity.” The rest is history.
Portra is the Broadcast Director for BEK Sports
. BEK Sports
is a part of the BEK Sports Network
, a group of people who record high school sports around the Midwest "... this job requires you to be very flexible and travel a lot," she explains. But there have been other programming opportunities outside the realm of sports for Portra. “When I started at BEK, they had been shooting a cooking show called The Country Cookbook
,” explains Portra. She became the anchor for this tasty programming along with a customer service rep, “Since I took my place as co-host we have shot about ten episodes including a Super Bowl
special, a Christmas special and an outdoor show where I got to show off my grilling skills.” But the cooking shows turned a little more competitive with last summer’s addition of The Country Cook-Off
program, a seven part cooking competition between chefs in communities around the BEK broadcasting areas. “This program was my baby from the ground up. I was involved in every aspect. Together, Jordan and I created the premise, rules and rundown for the show. Once we began filming each episode, I stepped in as director…for one episode we didn’t have enough contestants so I had to step in as a cook. Luckily I didn’t put all of my mom’s tutelage to shame and ended up winning the contest with my grilled salmon! I still have the trophy on my desk,” Porta adds.
She also has had the opportunity to take her position to new heights, literally. Last summer, Porta produced the program, A Closer Look
. “With this show I was responsible for every aspect of its production: shooting, writing, editing and creation of graphics and the open. I found this to be a huge challenge but had some great experiences while filming it. I got to climb a 200-foot wind tower with a camera duct taped to my hard hat.” In addition to scaling tall objects, “[I] got to hang out with some old auctioneers and I got to tour a local restaurant just like on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
…I’ve been given some really great opportunities to take the skills I learned at Studio One
to the next level.”
Porta has used more than just her production skills in her current position. She also has used other alumni to assist in projects, “The first time I was really able to hook up with my past colleagues was at the 2009 State Wrestling tournament in Fargo. This was a two day event for us and I was relieved, proud and excited to be able to have Nick Johnson, Kelly Corbo and Willie Hart come to Fargo and be a part of my crew. This was my first time directing a live event that would reach across the state and these were people I knew I could count on not only because they are close friends but also because of the training and experience they received at Studio One
. Nick and Willie were both on cameras and Kelly was my audio board operator.” She called on her fellow alumni to build a quick crew again that same year, “Nick and Willie later joined BEK for the 2009 Shrine Game and Lions Games in Grand Forks and Fargo. Along with those crazy two, Scott Lima and Amy Unrau joined the team with Scott on a shoulder cam and Amy on audio.”
When it comes to super powers, Ashley Portra can, produce a diverse set of programming, get a production crew of Studio One
alum together quick and grill up an amazing salmon. The only thing she is missing now is a costume, but it looks like a BEK Sports
shirt will have to do for now. Portra will continue to work on her skills this spring, but this time it will be in Grad School. She was accepted to Minnesota State University Mankato and will be moving from her position at BEK Sports at the end of April.