GW-TV begins new year

GW-TV is preparing to provide students with new programming this year, as it enters its first full school year of operation.

The network, which is student-run and works in conjunction with the School of Media and Public Affairs, kicked off its first year on air Nov. 11, 2003 with “Queer Eye for the GW Guy.” Junior Brian Weiss, who is in charge of GW-TV, said that since the airing of the its first production, which was based on the popular gay makeover show, the network has expanded and is ready to be back on air this year.

“We are very happy to be starting a new year of service to GW,” he said. “We have three new executive producers, a permanent staff of 10 and a pool of over 500 students ready to help out.”

Weiss said his main goal for this year is increasing student involvement.

“We are not an elite organization,” he said. “Anyone with an interest can and should get involved.”

When asked about new shows the network is planning for the upcoming year, Weiss said he was still unsure which new projects GW-TV would undertake. He emphasized that the student group is just focusing on recruiting more students before any possible production.

GW-TV is on channel six in most campus residence halls. Students interested in volunteering should visit the network’s Web site at http://www.gw-tv.com

The network has come a long way from its concept as an Internet-only TV station.

“I had always thought that the school needed a television outlet,” he said. “The interest was there; it just needed someone to organize it. So, we?originally thought to make an Internet TV channel, with the goal of eventually getting it on cable.”

From there, Weiss said, things took on a life of their own.

“The buzz we generated was so overwhelming that the SMPA decided to put us on the campus channel they use for broadcast news classes,” he said.

The SMPA also let GW-TV, which broadcasts on cable channel six, use much of its existing equipment, said Wendy Harmic, the network’s operations chief for the SMPA.

“It’s been a pretty good start,” she said. “We’re allowing GW-TV to use our channel since we don’t have enough material to use it all the time. We’re also doing voluntary support by loaning them some of our equipment.”

Harmic said problems recently arose, however, when the SMPA had to take back an editing system from the network.

“We’re trying to put something new together for them as a replacement,” she said, but added that the problem highlights the need for the network to find a benefactor to pay for its equipment.

Terry Schue, the faculty advisor for GW-TV, said they have already begun looking for outside funding.

“We’re contacting alumni and other organizations right now,” he said. “The goal is for GW-TV to be an independent organization like The Hatchet.”

But despite attempts to help the network grow, distribution is limited. Residence halls such as The Aston, City Hall, The West End and all of the Mount Vernon Campus do not receive the channel.

“We were told that for one of the older halls it would cost $26,000 to rewire it for the channel,” Schue said. “Right now, that’s not a possibility.”

Although only some halls receive GW-TV, Weiss is still positive about his network’s progress and achievements over the past year.

“Our best viewer reactions came from our complete coverage of the Kerry rally last year,” he said, referring to a March event in which Howard Dean officially endorsed Kerry. “We broadcast the speeches unedited and managed to ask both Kerry and Dean a few questions afterwards.”

Weiss said some of the most positive feedback to GW-TV came from its coverage of the Student Association elections last spring.

“We broadcast the debates and brief statements from the finalists before the run-offs,” he said. “It helped increase voter turnout and it helped a lot of people make up their minds about who to vote for before going to the polls.”

While there is no concrete way to measure viewership, Weiss said his e-mail inbox was “constantly” full of mostly positive feedback. Some students said they liked the network’s programming.

“I think it’s very well put-together,” junior Mary Hyde said. “It’s great to see people you know on TV and events you’ve gone to. I love making fun of my friends.”

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