Buzzard Hall now has a spotlight on it as producers and crew members turn the radio station, Hit Mix 88.9, into a set for a new television show.
Some students will even be featured as extras.
Eastern’s campus will be the set of the show, called “Birdscomb Community Radio,” until Nov. 16.
“Birdscomb Community Radio” is about a radio personality from Chicago who has just been fired and whose wife left him, executive producer Roy Wells said.
“He comes back to his hometown, which is Birdscomb, and goes back to the college radio station and kind of has to start his career over,” Wells said.
He said the main character’s goal is to have an old-time radio show with modern comedy.
“We’re pitching it to Netflix and mostly streaming services,” Wells said.
Wells and his crew selected their cast from around 2,000 actors who auditioned. All of the actors are from Los Angeles except Victoria Jackson, who is best known from being on Saturday Night Live.
Wells is also the producer of the 2016 show “Song Stage,” the second season of which was filmed in the Doudna Fine Arts Center.
Ke’an Armstrong, publicity and promotions specialist at WEIU-TV, is one of the main liaisons between Eastern staff members and the production crew.
“Back when they were producing ‘Song Stage,’ we connected with them because they were putting their first season of ‘Song Stage’ on PBS stations in Illinois,” Armstrong said. “And with WEIU being a PBS station, we contacted them.”
The producers approached Armstrong and said Eastern’s facilities, especially the Hit Mix 88.9 radio station, would be a perfect fit for filming.
Wells said producers knew people from filming “Song Stage” on campus last year, so some Eastern staff already had a relationship with the crew members.
“(Eastern’s) a college, and it has a radio station, so it fit perfectly,” Wells said.
Staff members at Eastern spoke with Wells and other crew members about using locations on campus, primarily Buzzard Hall, for filming the new show.
“They are using our facility, our conference room, our hallway, an office space, our green room,” Armstrong said. “We have another office as a dressing room and our radio station.”
Other locations on campus like the 7th Street Underground and Booth Library will also be used for filming certain scenes.
The 7th Street Underground will be transformed into a coffee house set, and a part of Booth Library will be used as a bookstore in the television show.
Crew members are shooting episodes one and two over the next few weeks, Armstrong said.
So far, the producers have eight episodes scripted, and Wells said it was done in a decent amount of time.
“Once we kind of locked in on the characters and what we were going for, it went pretty quick,” Wells said.
Kennedy Nolen can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]