Akron After Hours: Emmy Award-winning program

By: Rachel Salyer

Students may be surprised to know that they’ve probably seen an Emmy Award winner around campus. Some may have sat next to one in class or worked with one on a group project.

Akron After Hours won its second Emmy Award for Best Student Production in the Lower Great Lakes Chapter in June and had its first win in 2009. Z-TV programs have been nominated for Emmy Awards 12 times since 2005.

“When the Academy called our name at the ceremony, it made me so happy to know that no matter what anyone said about our show, we did it,” Mikhail Delinois, producer of AAH at the time of their 2011 Emmy win, said. “My team worked so hard, and I think it shows.”

“Akron After Hours,” or AAH, is a student-run sketch comedy show that is created by a team of students at Z-TV, The University of Akron’s television station. It airs on campus on Channel 45 at 1:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

“We do sketches like what you’d see on Saturday Night Live,” AAH producer Trista White, sophomore at The University of Akron, said. “We write, shoot and edit them all ourselves.”

These sketches range from a segment called “After Hours News,” where the top stories include such topics as “Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?” to a commercial for “LemonAids—Band-Aids made with real lemon juice!”

The AAH team produces six shows per semester, with each episode including about 16 sketches. Hours of work go into creating each episode.

“Our shoots can start at 9 a.m. and not end until 9 p.m., and then we’ll edit the show until 4 a.m., before being right back on campus at 7:45 for our morning classes,” White said. “It’s a relentless cycle, but it pays off when you know you’re working for an Emmy win.”

Dr. Phil Hoffman, general manager of Z-TV, says his students’ work is Emmy-worthy because it doesn’t look like a student-made production—it looks the same as a regular television show on a major network.

“I know it’s a cliché, but just getting nominated for an Emmy is hard,” Hoffman said. “Being able to know that people appreciate the quality of your project and recognize the work you’re doing is really important.”

The skills students learn by working for Akron After Hours, or for one of the other three programs at Z-TV, prepare them for the real-world media industry. Alumni from Z-TV have gone on to work for major networks such as MTV, Fox, NBC and The Travel Channel.

“The hilarity you see on screen is a collaborative effort from some of the most creative people I’ve ever met,” Delinois said. “I can’t wait to see where they move forward from here.”