Humans of Parkland: Mike Coulter, Video Production Specialist PCTV

Photo provided by Mike Coulter

Photo provided by Mike Coulter

Emma Gray


“I grew up in a small town about two hours south called Oblong, Ill. It’s really small. Then, I went to school at Eastern Illinois University. I started out in business and that quickly became something that probably wasn’t going to work out for me at all so I switched to…speech communication. I focused on film and video…

The joke back then was if you took speech communication it meant you could do anything that didn’t require skill.

Once I graduated college, I worked very quickly at a TV station in…Indiana. […] I moved to Champaign and worked at the WICD station here and then I moved to Channel 3. I worked there for probably 10 years and then I came to Parkland and I’ve been here for about 20 years.

We made films…called super eight films [that were] literally a reel of film that you would put in the camera; it would be silent and then you could add the sound track later. We would make those when we were little kids—seven or eight probably all the way through high school.

It was always just something goofy we did and it never occurred to me that was something you could do [as a career.]

[Now] I do videos for online classes and some stuff for Parkland College Television and just all kind of videos for commercials or whatever, you name it; if there’s a video component I end up doing it…

I came to Parkland [from] Channel 3 and it was cool…When I was working at Channel 3 that was kind of the height of television news and local news…It was kind of a weird thing that everybody would sit down at six o’clock and watch the local news…[People still do but] it’s a little less now than they used to.

[Working at Channel 3] was so much fun…I’ve seen World Series and a couple presidents—just really cool stuff. […] Everyday was really busy, but really different, and you never knew what you were going to do. You might do something from ‘there’s a house fire or a car accident’ or ‘go to Chicago’…It was always different and it was always interesting.

When I applied for the job at Parkland, it was starting to become wintertime and it was just so hard to do the news in the wintertime—you could be out in the snow and ice driving around…They’d say, ‘Oh, a road’s closed, don’t travel in this area,’ and the first thing [the station] would do is say, ‘Go there and get video of this road that’s closed.’

When I applied at Parkland there were a lot of things that were really great about it…I could kind of sort of count on knowing that I’d work during the day; I still work some nights but not a ton…Parkland was just a great place.

One of the weirdest things was…Christmas break…That’d never happened to me before. Just little things like that [made me stay at Parkland].”