Isaiah Johns, recent graduate with a B.A. in Film Studies and a minor in Fiction Filmmaking, received a first-place Michigan Student Broadcast Award from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB), along with partner George Pham, a Media and Information major, for their Holiday Comma Concert.
This 2021 statewide award was in the Use of Multimedia category. The MAB is a nonprofit organization representing commercial radio and television broadcast stations in Michigan. Its college student broadcast awards program is open to all Michigan college students and promotes education and advancement in the broadcasting industry.
“When receiving this award, I felt very much justified in my art,” Johns said. “I constantly find myself questioning if I have a voice that people are interested in hearing, and I think receiving an accolade like this solidifies that question.”
The award-winning Holiday Comma Concert is part of the Comma Concert series that Johns created, working in conjunction with Impact 88.9FM. The series features local musicians performing at various businesses and unique locations in the Lansing area that match the aesthetic of their music while promoting both the artist, the artist’s talent, and the business.
When receiving this award, I felt very much justified in my art. I constantly find myself questioning if I have a voice that people are interested in hearing, and I think receiving an accolade like this solidifies that question.
Johns also was part of the team that received a second place Michigan Student Broadcast Award in that same category for their “Treat Me Right Music Video.” The other members of that team include: George Pham, Sarah Kutchinski (Media and Information major), and Katarina Keeley (Media and Information major).
“I believe that my major has well prepared me to pay attention to detail,” Johns said. “Whether it be in film or navigating the world, being meticulous in your thought process and confident in your overall decisions, that is a good way to approach things.”
Along with the Michigan Student Broadcast Award, there were many other experiences from MSU that helped shape Johns into the student and graduate he is today. One of the biggest highlights of his MSU education was his study abroad trip to London and Scotland in 2019.
“This was an amazing experience, traveling and learning about my passion,” Johns said.
However, being a senior and graduating during the COVID-19 pandemic was not an easy task, and while there were many unfortunate circumstances, there also were some things Johns is thankful for.
I believe that my major has well prepared me to pay attention to detail. Whether it be in film or navigating the world, being meticulous in your thought process and confident in your overall decisions, that is a good way to approach things.
“I am very grateful that during the pandemic this very fast-paced world slowed down just a little, because it was the change of speed I needed right before I graduated to recollect and find new approaches and ways to be innovative,” Johns said. “The advice I would give is to never be closed off. The path you think you will take to achieve whatever goal will never go exactly as planned, so embrace any new or unusual opportunity that comes your way. It will most likely offer you a new perspective for an old goal or a new passion altogether.”
Johns’ post-graduation plans are still up in the air at the moment, but for now, he plans to stay in the East Lansing area and continue to grow the Comma Concert series. He also plans to save up his money with the goal of eventually moving to Atlanta or Los Angeles.
“I would just like to thank all my professors and peers for the parts they played in molding me into the person I am now as a college graduate,” Johns said. “I look forward to taking the piece of MSU that is a part of me now wherever I go.”