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Returning to His Roots

November 11, 2011

Former BMCC Professor and music enthusiast George Fleck recently returned to his old stomping ground for a visit.

In the 80s and 90s, Fleck was the director of the BMCC’s Corporate and Cable Communications program—now called Media Arts and Technology. He also taught speech courses; officially retiring in 2002.

“I was at BMCC for 22 years when I retired,” he recalled on his recent campus visit. “This whole area—Tribeca—was my life. I remember when BMCC’s Chambers Street location was a metal frame and we climbed around on wooden floors.”

Originally from the Bronx, Fleck joined the BMCC teaching staff in 1980 as an Assistant Professor.

“I had a background as a producer of corporate videos, and often did audio and visual work for Jack Morton Productions,” he said, recalling that, video and 16mm films, "had just come on the scene when I began teaching.”

BMCC currently houses advanced television production and editing facilities, providing hands-on digital editing, audio, control room experiences, and more.

Fleck toured the college’s editing suites—and also took a trip down memory lane. “It’s truly amazing what these students are learning in the suites,” he said, calling the technology used at BMCC today, “cutting edge.”

“The two-inch quad tape no longer exists,” he joked, referring to videotape in a two-inch wide format. “It became obsolete probably during the 1970''s,” said Fleck, who warmly embraces gadgets.

“I love everything my iPad can do,” he said.

Heading to Hollywood

Fleck referred to the students he taught in the 80s and 90s as “a tight-knit group.” Twice, he took Communications students to media workshops in Hollywood.

“They toured Universal Students, got to see the filmmaking operation at USC and UCLA, and even learned how cartoons were made. We had a great time, and I still talk to some of those students on Facebook,” he said.

Some of Fleck’s former students also filmed aviation treatments about air safety for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Making music

The events of 9-11 contributed to Fleck’s decision to retire from teaching. He currently resides in the Berkshires, where he hosts a radio show on WBCR 97.7 FM, called The Great American Songbook.

"The show features the great American Standard Songs performed by such artists as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Stacey Kent and more," explains Fleck, who takes song requests and also discusses the artists, arrangers and composers before and after each playing.

And, thanks to the magic of streaming radio, anyone, including Fleck''s brother in Germany, can listen to the The Great American Songbook.

Fleck remains a big fan of BMCC.

“If you really want to excel in the media field, go to BMCC,” he advises. “Many students cannot afford the big universities, and BMCC is just as good as private film schools. The students are just as talented,” he said, calling Manhattan, “the place to be because of the way the technology triples and advances. There are endless media opportunities in New York—it’s a mecca for communications.”

Fleck’s “major piece of advice” for students who wish to work in film, television or radio is, “don’t hesitate to take risks, especially in this industry. The motion picture industry is all about risks and rejection,” said Fleck, who once encouraged a student to submit his production resume in-person to staffers at the Tribeca Film Festival. 

"He got the job!” recalls Fleck. “In the media business, you’ve got to ask yourself, ‘What’s the worst thing that can happen, they’ll say no?’ So, you say, ‘Next’!”

To hear Fleck''s radio show, visit: www.berkshireradio.org or click here to stream it.

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STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Remembers when BMCC was just ‘a metal frame.’
  • Still in touch with former Corporate and Cable Communications students
  • Says aspiring artists shouldn’t overlook BMCC

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