QuizBusters Kicks Off 25th Season

Posted on: September 24, 2013

quizWKAR's weekly series "QuizBusters" kicks off its 25th season with a Special Edition airing in prime time on Wednesday, Oct. 2, at 9 and 9:30 p.m. The Special Edition will feature local personalities who play for bragging rights in the academic game show.

On Saturday, Oct. 12, the 25th season of weekly high school competition will begin. Host Matt Ottinger will welcome teams from 64 mid-Michigan high schools who will compete for scholarships to Michigan State University.

Within the past 24 years, several WKAR staff have served as producers for the show and the set has undergone a number of changes. But three things have remained consistent from day one: the series' prime underwriter, Consumers Energy; executive co-producer Tim Zeko; and series host Matt Ottinger. Several CAS students work on the production crew each year.

Ottinger kicked off the 25th season by welcoming a contingent of local "celebrity" players to WKAR's Studio A in September for the upcoming Special Edition, including Pamela Witten, dean of the College of Communication Arts & Sciences. Other prominent Spartan contenders included athletic director Mark Hollis, alumni association vice president Tim Bograkos, museum acting director Lora Helou, WKAR Current State host Mark Bashore and WKAR Current Sports host Al Martin.

Viewers can expect two lively, competitive and fun games, with Ottinger bantering with the players and audience in his comfortable, relaxed way.

The high school games are a little more structured because more is at stake. Teams are playing for scholarships to Michigan State University, with book scholarships added to that for the grand champions.

Over the course of the season, 64 teams compete, first in single-elimination and then seeding rounds. The Green and White divisions represent larger and smaller schools. The champions in each division receive scholarship offers to MSU.

Ottinger says he is routinely approached by former players who tell him how memorable their experience was. "Remarkably, no matter how long ago they played, they'll often quote back to me questions that were used on their shows!"

He also says that whenever he is approached, he's eager to learn about their career paths. "It fascinates me that the career choices have been as diverse as the players themselves."

Ottinger gets some of the questions from a question service; others he creates himself. Still others are video questions developed by the QuizBunch, most of whom are MSU students. This year's QuizBunch includes Kaitlynn Knopp, Haley Pearson, Derrick Jones and Micah Thompson.

"I truly enjoy when a team figures out a particularly tricky bonus question, or when a player's eyes light up with that "ah-ha!" look when they figure out a Pop Quiz clue. I've always thought that if I'm having fun and the players are having fun, then that's probably coming across to the audience," he says.

See if you can compete with Michigan's high school students when QuizBusters airs on WKAR. Following the broadcast, games are available online at video.wkar.org.

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