Students to launch online TV station

A group of GW students is preparing to launch an Internet television station around November that will broadcast up to five programs per week. Although the University has television channels available for student use, the group – GW-TV.com- has no plans to broadcast on them in the near future, and will solely rely on its Web site.

The University has space to broadcast on channel 22, among others, in residence halls. GW’s cable provider, Starpower, sends in some channels without a station affiliation, allowing the University to use them, said Alexa Kim, director of student and academic support services technology communications. She said GW feeds shows including foreign language programming on the channels and allows student organization WRGW to use channel 22 for radio broadcasting and publicity.

Kim said students looking to broadcast television programming would have to run the station 24 hours a day, seven days a week. She said the University would not allow students to only broadcast one or a few shows per week.

She said students would have to prove they have staffing, equipment and time to run a full-time station.

Sophomore Brian Weiss, a journalism major and organizer of GW-TV.com, said he became interested in starting a student-run television network at the end of last year. He said he posted a message on the GWired network and received more than 220 responses by around the second week of school from students eager to help.

He said GW-TV.com is only interested in broadcasting online for now.

“We want to make sure to start small because I’ve heard and seen student groups start up and fail because they started to fast,” Weiss said. “Right now we’re not the premier publication, but we could eventually snowball into something bigger.”

Weiss said he would like to broadcast shows concerning sports, “GW life” and “Around D.C.”

GW-TV.com organizers said their biggest obstacle is getting University space to store, drop off and pick up videos and store equipment.

Weiss said his organization needs $5,000 to $10,000, which the group will raise by running advertisements on the site. The money will be used to purchase equipment such as a digital editing machine and video cameras.

Officials said many students have tried to start a student-run station in the past but failed.

Kim said she met with a student representative for a GW television station two years ago, but the student was not prepared for all of the work a television station requires.

Kim said the students wanted to run pre-recorded videos, but did not have the staff to constantly monitor and change the videotapes or come up with a weekly program listing.

The group wanted to use the Media and Public Affairs building’s television studio and electronic media studies.

Officials from the School of Media and Public Affairs said while they are working to integrate more broadcast journalism into curriculums, they have no affiliation with GW-TV.com and have no plans to launch a station.

In the past, the school discussed the possibility of having a student-run station, but it currently does not have the faculty to supervise it, said Albert May, SMPA acting director.

“(Our equipment) is very expensive,” May said. “We wouldn’t be in any position to lend it out to students who haven’t been trained for it.”

While officials said maintaining a television station is difficult, student organization WRGW runs channel 22, which broadcasts in residence halls.

WRGW General Manager Brett Kaplan said students use the channel to broadcast audio, update viewers on student group events and post slides to promote their own broadcasts.

Kaplan said students could not broadcast television shows on the WRGW television station because WRGW audio is constantly running in the background.

GW-TV.com organizers said they have no plans to broadcast on television right now, but are would consider the possibility in the future. “We hope, eventually, that this will evolve into a cable television station or at very least that the University will let us develop a half hour show to be shown once weekly,” Weiss said.

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