Nik Brountas, English News KCTV, Interview, Jeju, South Korea
“Welcome to English News KCTV – I’m Nik Brountas….”- and with those words he leads into the top story of the day from the studio of the new English language news service dedicated to serving foreigners living and working on Jeju island.
Today I’m interviewing Nik at the modern and bustling KCTV office in Yeon-dong. Kang In-Hee, the production director also sits in on the questions, and I get the proceedings started by asking how he came to be anchorman: “I knew someone who does some English editing work for some other programs here. Through him I learned they were looking for someone to start the English news… they were looking for someone who had a green card [family visa]… I came in and did a camera test and met everybody.”
A typical day in the life has him at KCTV for about 4-5 hours. Translator Boo Hye-Seon prepares the stories which Nik then spends time editing (“adding and subtracting,” in his words) before going down to record between 3-4 pm. The new bulletin for the day will go out a little later in the evening at 7:30 pm.
He’s getting a lot more comfortable these days: “I feel much more comfotable than I did one month ago… it’s a fair amount of experience in a short amount of time.. because it’s six days a week… [even] just sitting in front of the camera has become easier.” I ask if he had any prior experience in this area: “In media or on TV? No,” he says. “I studied acting and did some shows… but that’s as close as I ever got.” So are there a healthy amount of retakes I wonder? “A lot of retakes..?” he pauses to consider for a moment before turning to In-Hee, who chimes in “Not a lot of retakes!” Nik laughs, “Thankyou!”
Overall, everything seems to have been initially well received by both Koreans and foreigners. Some Koreans, however, suggest Nik speaks too fast. But he’s going to continue the way he’s talking on air because first and foremost English News is a news broadcast. Secondly, it’s a way to study English.
After the interview is over Nik and crew take the time to show me the studio where the bulletin goes out from deep in the basement of the KCTV building. Over by the teleprompter that he reads from, I ask if it’s more difficult than it looks: “Yes,” he replies. He’s trying to concentrate on reading and speaking clearly all at the same time. I also ask why, after each story cuts back to him in the studio, he looks up from his papers: it’s something KCTV asked him to do. And does he actually write anything as the end credits roll? Yes, some note taking.
It’s almost midday now and we have to leave as the live, Korean language, lunch time bulletin is about to go out. The anchors sit- sipping drinks, organizing their scripts and practising their lines. From the control room we watch as the production director barks an order now and again. This could be English News one day.
“The first step of this [English News] was to get it off the ground,” Nik explains. “The next step will be… going out and doing our own reports and articles.”
Watching KCTV English News
English News KCTV airs Monday – Saturday at 7:30 pm, with re-broadcasts at 10 pm, 11:30 pm, and 8 am the following day (7:30 am on Saturday).
It can be viewed on Channel 5, or on www.kctvjeju.com at those times by clicking the On Air button.
VOD (with Korean and English scripts) is also available for viewing anytime at the website.