NNN to start airing on NUTV

Michelle Ma

Northwestern’s first television station launches tonight with the newest version of software that will allow students to watch the channel through NUTV.

Northwestern News Network — the student-run broadcast organization that produces television news — will air their first live television show on the new channel, called NU Channel 1, at 7 p.m.

Tonight at 7 p.m., on-campus viewers can watch NNN’s half-hour broadcast live on their computers. Before, NNN broadcasts were available live online through Real Player, but fewer than 15 people could tune in at once, said NNN News Director Ben Kwan.

Evanston residents with cable television could watch taped versions of the biweekly broadcasts, but students without cable capabilities did not have access to NNN broadcasts, he said.

“It always hurts when you put a lot of work into something and there doesn’t seem to be a payoff,” said Kwan, a Medill senior. “(NNN) has never enjoyed any widespread recognition on campus simply because it’s too hard to tune in.”

NU Channel 1 will make it easier for students to watch the work of their peers. The channel will also encourage students to showcase their work, said Mike Placito, NU Channel 1 general manager and a Communication junior.

“We want to create a place where everyone’s media can be shown. We want as much diverse programming as we can get,” Placito added.

The push for an NU television station began last winter through an Associated Student Government community-building initiative, said Cate Whitcomb, assistant to vice president for Student Affairs.

ASG members hoped a television station would help to build community, she added.

After ASG members chose three students to become executive board members of NU Channel 1, Whitcomb worked with the students to create the channel.

NU Channel 1’s debut today is a result of newly installed software that allows the station to operate on a more advanced schedule, including short minute-and-a-half clips along with longer half-hour segments, Whitcomb said.

“Since the beginning we’ve wanted to launch as soon as possible,” Placito said. “Not until now did we have the technology to make it work.”

Broadcasting on the new channel will begin at 6 p.m. and will include archived student work and past student productions until the live NNN broadcast at 7 p.m.

After today’s abbreviated schedule, NU Channel 1 will air everyday from 2 p.m. until 3:30 a.m. or 4 a.m., said NU Channel 1 Station Manager Andrew Bloustein, a Communication junior.

The station staff plans to launch their first event coverage at the Jan. 17 Martin Luther King Jr. Day keynote speech at 11 a.m.

The station will follow a program schedule, but broadcasts will include “as much diverse programming as we can get,” Placito said.

Students involved in NNN — about 45 total — said the opportunity to produce live broadcasts is highly coveted.

“For students involved in NNN, this opportunity provides more of a real-life experience entering the world of late-breaking live TV,” Kwan said. “That raises the stakes for us at NNN.”

NNN’s live broadcasts will air every Monday and Wednesday night at 7 p.m. and will repeat throughout the night.

Reach Michelle Ma at [email protected].