NUTV to debut new channel with student content next fall

Lori Fradkin

An additional channel on NUTV featuring Northwestern programming, such as Northwestern News Network coverage, should be available by Fall Quarter 2003, an NU official said Wednesday.

Sheila Driscoll, director of business and finance for the Office of Student Affairs, said university administrators are in the process of determining the kinds of programming that would be available on the new station. In addition to NNN, the channel might show speeches, theater performances or other campus events.

“The initial thrust was to provide cable programming,” Driscoll said. “Now we can enhance it.”

Medill Prof. Joe Angotti, NNN’s adviser, said he envisions the new channel as a “sort of C-SPAN of Northwestern.” Angotti said students currently cannot access NNN’s broadcast on Evanston’s Channel Six from their dorm rooms.

“It’ll be a breakthrough kind of innovation for Northwestern and for any university,” Angotti said. “Ultimately, it will be an interdisciplinary showcase for all the schools, all the departments at Northwestern.”

NUTV currently does not have the capability to air live productions, so NNN and other campus broadcasts have to submit prerecorded programs to Information Technology in a specific format, Driscoll said.

NNN News Director Jeff Campbell said he hopes the change occurs “sooner than later” as it will dramatically increase the network’s exposure. He said the number of NNN’s student viewers is extremely low.

“One of the main reasons (ASG) was able to sell (NUTV) to the university was it would be an outlet for NNN and an outlet for other main speakers and campus events going on,” said Campbell, a Medill junior.

Angotti said NNN made an agreement to be broadcast on Chicago’s WYCC-TV/Channel 20, but the current NUTV set-up limits students to watching their own campus television station.

“It’s a little frustrating to be going out to such a huge audience in the city and not be able to be seen by our own students on campus,” Angotti said. “I think it would be a tremendous advantage for students to have a content channel.”

Campbell said the NUTV enhancement will require $7,000 for a server and software. A part-time employee also would be needed to operate the channel.

Tom Board, director of Technology Support Services, said technology for the new channel could be set up in a matter of weeks, but administrative and financial issues have to be tackled first.

Board said adding a station to NUTV would not slowdown the network or influence the other cable channels.

The new channel would give students an opportunity to watch events they might miss otherwise, such as Crain lecture speeches, Angotti said.

Education sophomore Anne Ventimiglia said she would take advantage of such programming because her schedule does not always allow her to attend every show or hear every speaker that she wants.