One of the nation’s premier recording and video arts schools specializing in the craft of audio and film is expanding to California.

Editor’s Note:   While researching information for this story, I watched a YouTube video by Russell Whitaker remembering Stevie Ray Vaughn  which led me to watch about 20 other MediaTech related videos including one from a former MediaTech student, Summer Ames (for an additional treat listen to her Fairytales & Tea).   If the creative arts are your passion, there is little doubt that MediaTech is a Magical Place to learn the crafts and spirit so essential to a successful career.

MediaTech Oceabside offers a unique learning experience for those who want to pursue a career in the technical craft of music and film.  This school, with its fourth campus taking shape in Oceanside, is a labor of love, designed by founder Russell Whitaker, a 30-year veteran in the recording industry.  He has worked with such legends as Buddy Miles, Leon Russell, ZZ Top, Phil Collins and on films such as Leave It to Beaver, Baywatch, Titanic, Miami Vice to name only a few of hundreds of projects.  In 1980, Russell Whitaker built the Dallas Sound Lab recording studio in Irving, Texas, the largest sound studio in the Southwest.  His success and love of the music business inspired him to share his knowledge of the industry with those starting out.  In 1998, he created the Audio Engineering program and collaborated with industry professionals to hold seminars on related subjects such as Producing, Songwriting, Audio for TV and Film and Sound Reinforcement.  “Most music schools take a purely academic environment and attempt to drag the profession in kicking and screaming.  We take a world class studio and bring the academics to it,” states Whitaker. Classes began in Dallas in 1999, and soon demand for another campus become too great to ignore. In 2002, classes began at Dallas Sound Lab’s Austin branch in the historic Arlyn Recording Studio providing students with invaluable real world knowledge.  The opening of the Houston branch in 2003 was renamed the MediaTech Institute as well as the Austin and Dallas branches. In 2007, the Institute expanded its studios to include a digital film and a video arts program in Dallas.  An Oceanside, California location, the focus of this article, will open in June 2011.  It contains world class recording and film studios.

All Institute locations offer a recording arts program, while the Dallas  and Oceanside campus also offers a Video Arts program.  As part of the recording arts program, the school also includes a Business of Music class. Additional instrumental music lessons as well as a host of online learning classes are also available.  Many graduates secure positions in a variety of entertainment/music/digital media industries working with video production companies, recording studios, television and radio stations, sound reinforcement companies, artist management agencies, digital technology, entertainment law and other related media businesses.

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There are so many interesting programs going on at MediaTech that it deserves, and you will see, additional articles on this unique school when it officially opens in June, 2011, and as it progresses to graduate its first Oceanside student.  Below you will find a few insights from its founder and the people who will be running the Oceanside campus.

Russell Whitaker - MediaTech President
OCS:    Was there an aha! moment when you knew you wanted to be involved with music as your life's work?
Russell:    It is when I first heard Jimi Hendrix.  I played drums all through Junior High.  When I was a senior in high school, I heard Jimi Hendrix and started playing guitar, and when I picked up a guitar it was aha! it was music.  And then I made it to California right out of high school.   I lived in Newport Beach and got in a band and went into a recording studio to make a demo, in a little garage studio he had built.    That was 1973 and that’s when I went aha!, that’s what  I wanted to do to get into recording.  Basically those two things and I never looked back.

OCS:    You spent more on construction and equipment than would've been necessary to have a world-class school.  Why?
Russell:    Well, when I started building this place, I already had built 12 studios so  I know how to do it, but this location had a  train running nearby and I had to address this and in the end I said I just had to do it right.   I didn’t want the train noise coming through during recording sessions so we installed top of the line sound proofing.You’ll never hear a truck drive by or a train.  I just took the time to do it right.  It’s smaller than my other campuses so I just did it right.  We also built it on caissons so we can eventually go up if we need to expand.  I decided in the long run it’ll be worth it.

OCS:     Can you give us one or two examples, spanning your entire career to date. that stand out as the most interesting or satisfying?
Russell:    Looking back, when I returned to Austin there were a lot of things but I guess when I started recording people like Stevie Ray Vaughn first demos that became the first album later on.  He continued to record with me three or four other albums.  Looking back, that would probably be the coolest thing. although at that time he wasn’t so famous so it wasn’t that big a deal at the time.  Being in the recording business, I would say one of the coolest moments was being in the control room when Gregg Allman, of the Allman Brothers, came in and we recorded Stormy Monday. I heard his voice come through the speakers and that was a moment when you just go, wow, I’ve made it.  Another time, was when Willie Nelson came in.

OCS:    What advice would you give a student to give them the best chance at success?
Russell:    Oh, just what everybody says, passion.  If  its something you really want to do, you’ll make it.   The main thing to note is that the people who really succeed are the people who are easy to get along with, a personality, you can’t have an ego.   I think that’s the same with everything.  Music, especially, you’ve got to be humble, easy to get along with.  Obviously, you need to have talent and passion, but on top of that, the people who’ve gone straight to the top, are easy to get along with..

Cedric Courtois – MediaTech Audio Instructor, Oceanside Campus
OCS:    What is your background?
Cedric:    I grew up in France where I was born, and did a few years in college where I studied biology and chemistry.  I’ve played music since I was fifteen.   Eventually married my passion for music and technology by becoming a sound engineer by going to school and interning in Paris for a while before moving to the States back in ’96.  I ended up in Texas where I freelanced for ten years and eventually moved to L.A. where I continued to freelance.  I primarily was a music mixer, not doing much recording anymore.  I worked on quite a few films in sound design, sound editing, and mixing.  I first started teaching for MediaTech while I was still in Houston for about three to four years and reconnected with them in 2009 when they were talking about starting the Oceanside campus.

Sandra Scholz – MediaTech Operations Manager, Oceanside Campus
OCS:    What is your background?
Sandra:   I actually grew up in Los Angeles area and came to San Diego to go to school and eventually ended up in school in Germany.  I came back to the States and went to work for a steamship company doing sales and marketing.  I took a break to raise my children and recently came back into the workforce.  I was hired by MediaTech Oceanside to become the financial aide coordinator.  At this point I am the Operations Manager.

OCS:    Where do we go from here?  When do you expect to open?
Sandra:    We’re expecting the school to open on June 27th based on the statements of the accreditation committee.  We’ve started advertising the school in local media, and with the military.   We expect to begin enrolling students in the next few weeks.

Editor’s Note:    Oceanside is a 5000 sq. ft facility with 4 studios:
Lower Trestles Studio for mixing, recording a full band, or overdubbing vocals as well as DVD mixing in Surround, and video editing;
Upper Trestles Studio is an entirely Pro Tools-based room primarily used for music production, sound editing, sound design, and full band recording to mixing “in the box” whether for music (stereo mixing) or DVD mixing (5.1 surround). Upper Trestles also features a video editing station;
Rincon is a 14-seat theater named after the legendary surf spot on the border of Santa Barbara and Ventura. It is a versatile multi-purpose room, which can be used as a dubbing stage, Foley recording room, and music recording room. It also serves as a video control room featuring the latest NewTek TriCaster TCXD850 , a portable unit that allows total creative control and yet does the work of a truckload of old-school video gear;
Blacks is a 27′ x 30′ x 13′ sound stage with two-wall hard cyc and a green screen named after a famous California big wave spot.

Overview Video of the Media Tech program






MediaTech Oceanside Campus

Sunday, June 16, 2024