Brandon Launerts stumbled upon his career aspirations while walking down the hallway at John A. Ferguson Senior High School one day.
There he encountered his older brother, Conrad, holding a video camera. He encouraged Brandon to take TV production.
Four years later, Launerts now a sophomore at Kendall Campus, became the youngest person to win a Suncoast Emmy at NBC6, this past December.
Launerts, 20, was part of a team at NBC6 that included Christine Portela, David Henderson, Frank Adelson, Jackie Nespral and Willard Shepard, recognized for the evening newscast featuring the arrest of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman who fatally shot teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford.
“They called our newscast and we were shocked” said Launerts, who recalls jumping in the air when the winner was announced.
Launerts was in charge of coordinating the evening newscast the night of the Zimmerman arrest.
“To win an emmy at such a young age for such a legendary station is incredible,” Launerts said.
“It still hasn’t hit me,” Launerts added. “I’ve already accomplished one of my dreams.”
Launerts dream started in high school when he was part of the Ferguson Broadcasting Network. He worked as a video editor and managed content.
“If it wasn’t for high school I wouldn’t have found out I loved television,” Launerts said.
He met NBC6 morning news anchor, Pam Giganti, while she was “Principal of the Day” at Ferguson. He maintained contact with her throughout high school.
After graduating, Giganti encouraged Launerts to pursue an internship at NBC6 in January 2011. During the internship, he was in charge of editing content for the newscast.
“Internship is key,” said Launerts. “Working hands are better than a book. Working directly helps you learn more.”
Balancing his internship and school, Launerts worked weekends from 3 to 10 a.m. and sometimes in the evenings from 4 through 12 p.m.
“He exceeded all my expectations,” said Frank Adelson, supervising editor, team leader and special projects editor at NBC6. “He reminded me of myself.”
Adelson was Launerts’ mentor from the start.
“He was going above and beyond to do things,” Adelson said. “I took him under my wing. Now he’s like a butterfly, he’s on his own.”
Recently, Launerts was promoted to social media producer, a full-time position. He creates plans for social media content and works directly with anchors.
“He’s such a young guy and go-getter,” said Adam Kuperstein, an NBC6 Anchor and co-host of the Kup & Crowder Show on 560 WQAM. “He got what he wanted. He’s really good with people and shows a lot of innovation.”
Launerts plans to continue working at NBC6 and focus on creating content and exploring other areas in broadcasting.He is expected to graduate from MDC at the end of the spring semester and plans to continue his education at Florida International University.
“The future is bright for him,” Kuperstein said. “The business is changing and as long as he’s on it, he’ll be fine.”