The Morning Announcements: what comes next?

Caitlin Roeltgen

Lanie and Austin waving goodbye after announcing the new hosts: Lauren and Jake.

A morning staple for the majority of the student body at Radnor High School this year has become Just Talking With Lanie and Austin, the morning announcements. With the recent news about Lanie and Austin passing the camera onto Lauren Kelley and Jake Van Horn, very little of the student body know where the announcements are headed next. 

Before Covid, Radnor’s morning show was set up more like a typical talk show than it is now, with hosts switching often and one of the video production classes offered at RHS running it. Because of Covid, the format of the announcements switched to Zoom. Last year, the announcements were run by then-seniors Tori and Adam. Tori’s experience with it was unique to Covid, but special nonetheless. In comparison to now, Tori said, “I honestly don’t think our audience was as big as it might be now, but I am so happy that it has grown,” also saying that it was a great learning experience and well worth her time. 

For Tori and Adam, the biggest challenge was adapting the show for Covid. Right before everything shut down, Tori and Adam auditioned to host the announcements, which were starting to change from the years prior. There was no outline on what to do, so, as Tori said, they “had to improvise from home about how to do announcements [and] then stuck with that throughout the year,” even when Radnor went back to hybrid. 

Lanie Walsh, the host for the 2021-2022 school year, reflected on last year as inconsistent, so not many people watched the show. Although the circumstances still were not ideal, when she and Austin Johnson were asked to take over the show, they were enthusiastic about the opportunity. One of the first steps in transforming it into their own show was having a new name – Just Talking With Lanie and Austin. Recommended by Adam, both Lanie and Austin loved the new name, and throughout the year have managed to make it synonymous with the Radnor morning announcements.

In reference to Just Talking, Lanie described it saying, “it’s kind of… become our brand.” For her and Austin, Just Talking with Lanie and Austin has become a big part of their lives, in more ways than just the recognition they get from the show. Being on the morning announcements for Lanie has allowed her to keep connected with Austin, which she said would be difficult otherwise due to their busy schedules. Lanie described that, saying sometimes, “We talk about each other for an hour…[and it] kind of keeps our friendship alive.”

For Austin, the announcements mean a similar thing. “The morning announcements have given us an outlet to ‘hang out’ every night,” he said, which wouldn’t otherwise be possible given their busy schedules.

The new hosts, Lauren Kelley and Jake Van Horn, are not totally sure of where the future will lead but are excited nonetheless. “I think we’re both just really looking forward to coming back from Covid side of it,” mentioned Lauren. The announcements have been recorded exclusively online since Covid hit, but with a new year comes new opportunities for change, and a chance to explore how the announcements used to be. There’s “a lot of opportunity to be different and more fun,” said Jake, and both he and Lauren are hopeful for new experiences along the way. One thing they’re both sure about is the new name they came up with: “The Morning Take with Lauren and Jake.” New announcements mean a new name, and Lauren and Jake’s new name can give a hint into the changes planned for the future.

For those that don’t run the announcements though, the changes present new challenges. Sam Roche, a current senior who is both president of RadTV and in the video production 2 class appreciates the current announcements but preferred the old ones, before Covid. “People learned how to use a teleprompter, other people would use the control panel and switch between angles, and then other people would write the script,” Sam said, adding that “those jobs would rotate through the video production 2 class throughout the year giving everyone a chance to learn and also be a host.” With the new system of morning announcements, this learning opportunity is lost. 

The impact beyond Radnor announcements also goes further than just the news. For Austin, he recognizes the importance of giving an easy way for students to know what’s happening in Radnor in an easy format. He also “appreciate[s] the opportunity to advocate for students who want their clubs’ most recent achievements broadcasted,” and whose voices would normally not be heard by the vast majority of the student body. For Lanie, it’s important that Just Talking is not only informative, but also entertaining and interesting. She explained that to see people early in the morning showing energy and bantering is important, especially now. She said, “things are so different now… [so] when it comes to putting stuff out there… we want everyone to start of their morning thinking [about] something stupid or funny we do.”

Lauren and Jake are following in Lanie and Austin’s footsteps and hoping to make the announcements better than they have ever been before. “We’ve seen what has worked in past years… and what Lanie and Austin have had to adapt to,” Lauren said. She and Jake plan to use all of the resources they can to make the morning announcements better and more interesting resources for all RHS students, and are looking forward to starting “to try things out” in the near future, once Lanie and Austin graduate. “The talk show is going to change with whoever’s doing it,” Lanie said, and that could not be more clear. Wherever the announcements go, they will change and adapt to continue supporting Radnor High School.