Southeast Training Prepares Alumnus for Communications Career

lemondsBrad Lemonds was involved in the birth of KRCU, Southeast Missouri State University’s radio station, as a student in the 1980s. Today, he teaches in the Communication and Media Studies Department at Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, Calif.

Brad, a Holcomb High School graduate originally from Kennett, Mo., says he chose to attend Southeast because both of his parents graduated from the University.

“I was planning on attending Southern Illinois University’s cinema program, but at the last minute, I changed my mind and enrolled at Three Rivers Community College,” Brad says.

After two years at Three Rivers in Poplar Bluff, Mo., Brad earned an Associate of Arts in general studies.  He then applied for and received a community college scholarship to attend Southeast.

“In all honesty, two of my friends, Terry Mead and Alan Barnett, transferred from Three Rivers to Southeast to play basketball,” Brad confesses.  “I really attended Southeast to watch them play. I also heard through one of the speech professors that Southeast had started a cable access television station. All of these events led to me choosing Southeast.”

As a student at Southeast, Brad hosted a program on Cable Access Channel 10 (CAC10) with Dr. Bill Stacy, President of Southeast at the time.  He formed some of his favorite Southeast memories while hosting this program, including interviewing St. Louis Cardinal Lou Brock in Sikeston and Puxico farmer Wayne Cryts in the studio for the 30-minute program. He also interviewed Cryts in Kansas and covered his congressional campaign for KAIT-TV in Jonesboro, Ark., when Brad covered Southeast for the Arkansas station.

Brad became involved with KRCU to help him prepare for his future career.  He did “Country Morning” radio from 5:30 to 7 a.m. for one summer.

“I got up at 4:30 a.m. and walked over to the old studio in the back of Academic Hall,” Brad says.  “I would unlock the door and sparrows would fly out of the building. At that time of day, there were a lot more squirrels on campus than people.”

But his primary focus was CAC10, started by Fred Wyman and Herb Taylor.  Herb and his wife, Peggy, now have an endowed scholarship for Southeast. Their involvement with CAC10 taught Brad what to expect in a mass media career.

“I received an excellent background in television at Southeast that I don’t believe many schools put in their curriculum,” Brad says.  “Most college students have to take a test or write a paper every week or so. I had my classroom work, plus I produced and directed one show on Tuesday evenings.  On Wednesday nights for two semesters, I hosted and produced ‘Ask the President.’  I learned to manage my time wisely.”

Brad advises current Southeast students to “find a career you like, but remember to always be flexible in your career plans. Have a Plan B and in this economy, you probably need to have a Plan C as well.”

After graduating from Southeast with a Bachelor of Science in communication—news editorial electronic, Brad worked in television news in Kansas and Arkansas. He attended Arkansas State University, where he received a Master of Science in mass communication He then moved to Los Angeles, Calif., where he currently resides, to attend graduate school at the American Film Institute, where he received a Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting and Filmmaking.

While he was in film school, Brad wrote feature-length scripts and wrote his own projects, which he now shoots.

After graduating from film school, Brad taught at California State University in San Bernardino, Calif.  He then started teaching at Santa Monica College.

“Working at Santa Monica College allows me to meet people from far off lands without traveling,” Brad says.  “Students come from all over the world to attend college at Santa Monica, and I learn about other countries and cultures without getting on a plane. I get emails and Facebook messages from all over the world from my former students.”

Brad has helped to further Santa Monica College’s communication department. He started doing more sports coverage.

“It was fun seeing the crowd’s reaction when they saw us covering the games,” Brad says.  “Even one of the players told me later that he was from New York, and community colleges there don’t cover their games like we do. Some of the things we’ve done over the last couple of semesters came right out of the television ‘playbook’ I learned at Southeast.”

In his spare time, Brad is planning on shooting a feature film.

“I’ve teamed up with some good people,” Brad says.  “I’d like to shoot a movie back in Missouri if the timing is right. I have the story, now I need to sit down and write the script.”

He is also looking at producing and directing a play in the near future.

“I’ve had the chance to work with some very talented people throughout my career,” Brad says.  “Not bad for a country boy from Southeast Missouri.”