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Alumnus Andre Mika produces Live Earth broadcasts

June 25, 2007

KALAMAZOO--As producer of worldwide broadcasts for this summer's Live Earth concert, Western Michigan University alumnus Andre Mika is at the forefront of a monumental music event that will unite 150 music artists and 2.5 billion people to promote awareness of the global climate crisis.

"This is a significant moment in the history of the entertainment industry," Mika says. "Never before have we fully harnessed the power of multimedia to reach out to this many people and build such a truly global community. We are making broadcast and campaign history."

The 22-hour nine-concert series will take place on Saturday, July 7. It begins in Sydney, Australia, and continues across seven continents, concluding with the U.S. show at Giants Stadium in New Jersey. Live Earth co-chair and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore says he hopes the energy created by the event will start a massive public education effort, and help move corporations and governments to take decisive action to solve the climate crisis.

Shows will be televised globally the day of the event on seven NBC networks, including Bravo, MSNBC, CNBC, Sundance, UniHD, Telemundo and Mun2. They also will be shown on NBC during primetime, and streamed live from each venue on MSN. Performances will be available worldwide on XM and Sirius satellite radio and via Sprint mobile downloads. On broadcast day, Mika will be stationed in London at the world feed master control.

Mika's involvement in this defining moment began in late February when the producer, who had recently led online production at AOL in New York, found himself vacationing in northern California. The phone rang one afternoon and on the other end was executive producer Kevin Wall, soliciting help for what would turn out to be the largest high-definition broadcast in television history.

"Projects like this happen very few times in life," Mika says. "It didn't take long to decide that it was something I had to do."

The theme music for the global broadcasts was written by Mika and fellow WMU alumnus Michael "Smidi" Smith, a noted composer living in Los Angeles. The track was orchestrated in Los Angeles by Bill Myers (Madonna; Earth, Wind and Fire), and performed by a large orchestra on the Eastwood Sound Stage at Warner Brothers.

"It was a Bronco moment," Mika says. "We looked at each other and laughed -- we could remember a moment from the stage of Miller almost 20 years ago."

As a student at WMU, Mika spent a lot of time on that stage singing with Gold Company, the University's internationally recognized vocal jazz ensemble. He left WMU during his senior year, after being offered a position as a national TV advertisement producer for Chevrolet. His career led him to Chicago and Los Angeles, where he worked with Walt Disney Company and Dreamworks. He then spent time as a producer with the Football Network in Louisiana, before launching the acclaimed Shaw Center for the Arts in downtown Baton Rouge. He also directed the 2004 high-definition version of the Olympics from Athens, Greece.

The Emmy-Award winner is now working as an independent producer. He and his wife, Jami (Sackett), a WMU alumna, are happy to call both Los Angeles and New York "home."

Media contact: Tonya Hernandez, (269) 387-8400, tonya.hernandez@wmich.edu

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